BRUNSWICK — It only took Brunswick’s girls basketball team 4 minutes to deliver a knockout blow to St. Joseph Academy.
The Blue Devils scored the first 19 points of the game Wednesday — fueled by two 3-pointers apiece from Farrah Benner and Paige Salisbury — in a 57-39 non-league victory over the Jaguars.
It marked the second straight season Brunswick (6-8) has led from wire to wire in stunning St Joseph (8-4). Last Jan. 16, the Blue Devils seized a 32-5 advantage in handing the then-undefeated Jaguars a 39-30 home loss.
“We feel disrespected when schools come in and think they’re better than us,” Salisbury said. “Again tonight, we really started off great and never let up. Things are going very well for us right now.”
Junior point guard Salisbury finished with a career-high 22 points and a game-best 11 rebounds, while sophomore small forward Benner set career highs with 19 points, 10 rebounds and three steals as Brunswick won its fifth straight.
Each half of the dynamic duo buried three 3-pointers on the evening as the Blue Devils shot 9-for-23 beyond the arc, falling one make shy of the school record.
“We were really ready for this game,” Benner said. “We’re playing with so much confidence as a team, and our determination to beat them was strong. Everyone did really well.”
Junior shooting guard Olivia Gailey added seven points and a career-high five assists for Brunswick, while senior power forward Monica Wasson had two points, four boards, four assists and three blocked shots.
Just as critical to the triumph were junior centers Samantha Gut (4 points, 7 rebounds) and Clare Albino (6 rebounds, 2 steals). They imposed their will in the paint while battling a much larger foe in Jaguars junior Greta Burry.
The 6-foot-1, physically powerful Burry only managed five points and one rebound before fouling out.
“Last year, we wanted to bring them down bad, and it carried over to tonight,” Albino said. “Coach (Halle) Lengal really pushed us to be physical against her, reading her side, because it was successful the last time. We might not have the tallest group, but as a team, we are pretty strong.”
The Blue Devils’ mental toughness was obvious from the opening tip, when they made their first seven shots while holding St. Joseph to a 0-for-10 start from the field. Burry spoiled the shutout 4:15 in by converting a three-point play.
Brunswick’s largest advantage occurred early in the second when Gut scored on a putback to make it 30-10, while Benner put the win on ice with back-to-back jumpers midway through the fourth to push the spread back out to 18 points at 54-36.
Senior small forward Nicole McManamon paced the Jaguars with 13 points and nine rebounds, while junior power forward Brittany Morrison had seven points and nine caroms. St. Joseph lost the rebounding battle 40-32 and shot an abysmal 4-for-32 on 3-pointers.
“Everyone is playing their roles perfectly for us,” Lengal said. “The scorers are scoring, the rebounders are rebounding, the defenders are defending and we’re doing a pretty good job taking care of the basketball.
“We didn’t start the season the way we would have liked, but no one lost faith in what we were doing. It’s nice to see them being rewarded for it over the last couple of weeks.”
Salisbury and Benner became the first pair of Blue Devils with double-doubles in the same regular-season game since Dec. 2, 2008 against Oberlin.
• Freshman guard Talia Boutwell and freshman forward Olivia Andrew scored seven points apiece as Brunswick’s junior varsity earned a 30-28 victory. Boutwell, whose father Tony was a boys basketball assistant coach at Highland, made 1-of-2 free throws in the closing seconds. Andrew also played in the varsity contest, making a 3-pointer while being fouled at the first-quarter buzzer.
Contact Brian Dulik at email@example.com.