ELYRIA — The Brunswick girls basketball team got a boost from its defense Wednesday night to overtake Elyria in Northeast Ohio Conference River Division action.
But it was a sophomore guard who revved up the offense in the third quarter to lift the Blue Devils from a six-point halftime rut to a 51-37 win.
Paige Salisbury, scoreless in the first half, had seven points in the third quarter, including a personal 4-0 run to open the period.
Salisbury scored again during a 6-0 run that created a 26-24 lead. Then, after the Pioneers earned a tie at 28, Brunswick went on a 7-2 run to lead 37-33 going into the final 8 minutes.
The revitalized Blue Devils defense outscored the Pioneers 21-11 in the third and held them to four points — and one basket — in the fourth.
“At halftime, we talked about how we needed to outwork the (other) team to win because our talent was at about the same level,” Salisbury said. “So (coach Halle Lengal) told us we had to come out and work hard, and we did.
“Coming back like that comes from working hard and our team does that well. After we’re behind, we know we have to work hard to do it and we always come out strong in the second half.”
Brunswick got 10 second-half points from Gabrielle Bulic, a 6-foot-4 senior post. The Michigan volleyball recruit finished with a game-high 18 points and was also strong on the boards.
Even so, Elyria post Alexis Middlebrooks, a 6-0 junior, stayed with her. In fact, Elyria ended up winning the boards 35-28.
The Blue Devils (4-2, 2-0) didn’t have to exhaust themselves on the offensive glass, as they shot .523 from the field (23-of-44). At the same time, that revitalized defense limited Elyria (2-1, 0-2) to .273 and forced 10 second-half turnovers.
“Our big focus this season has been defense,” Brunswick’s Lengal said. “It’s been a work in progress, but every game it’s gotten better. So definitely that was the first thing we wanted to talk about at halftime. It wasn’t necessarily the defense in the first half, it was more the intensity of the defense that needed to pick up. So we changed that in the second half and obviously it worked well for us.”
Elyria trailed 10-6 after a quarter, but went on a 14-0 run that took up most of the second quarter. During the rally, the Pioneers got five points from junior guard Jocelyn Spraggins, three from senior Alexis Roseboro, two foul shots by junior Alexis Middlebrooks and a basket each from senior Mary Jones and sophomore Sybil Roseboro.
“We were up at half, but we missed a lot of easy bunnies, a lot of inside shots, but maybe because of Bulic being in there,” Elyria coach Mike Walsh said.
“We were up six at half, but we probably should have been up a little more. When we came out of the locker room (for the second half), it just seemed like we didn’t have the same intensity.”
Contact Bob Daniels at firstname.lastname@example.org.