June 27, 2016


Red-hot Benner leads Blue Devils

Brunswick 's Farrah Benner puts up a shot over Firestone's Ashely Phillips during the first quarter. (Photo by Aaron Josefczyk)

Brunswick ‘s Farrah Benner puts up a shot over Firestone’s Ashely Phillips during the first quarter. (Photo by Aaron Josefczyk)

Brian Dulik

The Gazette

AKRON — Farrah Benner keeps breaking school records and Brunswick’s girls basketball team keeps winning games.

Sophomore small forward Benner made a school-record eight 3-pointers and scored a game-high 26 points Thursday, leading the Blue Devils to a 64-33 rout of No. 13 seed Firestone in a Medina Division I Sectional final.

Freshman power forward Olivia Andrew added a pair of treys for 14th-seeded Brunswick (10-12), which tied its all-time mark of 10 3-pointers in a game for the second time in nine days.

In the Blue Devils’ last contest on Feb. 12 at Elyria, they also made 10 triples — seven of them by Benner, who broke the then-school record of 48 in a season.

“Tonight was awesome. I love moments like this,” said Benner, who has 63 3-pointers on the year. “To break another record as a sophomore feels incredible, but to do it in a tournament game where everyone on the team played great, that makes it even better.”

Benner finished the evening 8-for-18 beyond the arc, befuddling the Akron City Series regular-season champion Falcons (14-8) with her lightning-quick release. The 5-foot-7 sharpshooter added a career-high five assists and three steals in powering Brunswick to its fourth straight district appearance.

“I love shooters and the kid can shoot, which is why she always has the green light,” Blue Devils coach Halle Lengal said. “Farrah has stepped in after playing JV last year and put together a tremendous season. She deserves it, too, because she’s a great kid and everything that’s happened to her is because of her hard work.”

Brunswick, which will face No. 6 seed Lakewood at the Medina District on Tuesday, played a near-perfect game in eliminating Firestone for the third year in a row.

Junior point guard Paige Salisbury ran the Blue Devils’ offense to perfection with six points, five rebounds and game bests of six assists and four steals.

Senior power forward Monica Wasson, appearing in her 70th varsity contest, also rose to the occasion with a career-high 13 rebounds, along with five points and four assists.

“I couldn’t be happier to be going back to districts with these girls,” Wasson said. “We did what we had to do at both ends of the floor and our new offense is really clicking. I hope we can take it all the way to the district finals.”

Brunswick’s bench also came up big as Andrew chipped in nine points and junior center Samantha Gut scored a career-high-tying eight with four boards. The reserves outscored their Falcons counterparts 19-1.

Junior forward Darien Carter, the City Series MVP, and Yolanda Sims each had eight points to pace Firestone, which shot 11-for-50 from the field with 21 turnovers. None of the 10 Falcons to play made more than 40 percent of their field goal attempts.

Firestone actually led 6-3 before Brunswick ended the first half on a 27-7 run, capped by a Gut hoop. A baseline jumper by Andrew extended the Blue Devils’ advantage to 42-17 in the third, while junior center Clare Albino’s short deuce with 2:45 left set their high-water mark at 62-29.

“Honestly, the gym was so quiet and there were so few people here, we all had a hard time getting into a flow right away,” said Lengal, whose squad is 9-4 since Dec. 21. “Once we got going, though, everybody played their roles to a ‘T’.

“We’ve definitely hit our stride, and none of us wants to see it end anytime soon.”


Benner broke the Brunswick record of seven 3-pointers in a game she had shared with Annie Sofranko (2010-11). Lengal (2001-02) and Amy Rooks (1990-91) are next on the school list with six in a game.l Benner also tied Erica Eubank’s school mark for triples in a half with five after intermission.

l Prior to this month, the Blue Devils had only made 10 3-pointers in a game once, against Lakewood on Feb. 9, 2011. They have buried a school-record 112 on the season through 22 contests.

Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.


Medina Division I Sectional Final

Brunswick 64, Akron Firestone 33

BRUNSWICK                        10  20  15  19  —  64

FIRESTONE                            8   5    10  10  —  33

Brunswick — Farrah Benner 9-21 0-0 26, Monica Wasson 2-5 1-4 5, Clare Albino 1-1 0-2 2, Olivia Gailey 2-5 0-0 4, Paige Salisbury 3-8 0-0 6, Samantha Gut 4-5 0-0 8, Olivia Andrew 3-7 1-2 9, Sam Malleo 1-3 0-0 2, Cassie Steets 0-1 0-0 0, Bailey Blythin 0-0 0-0 0, Jessica Skryzpek 0-0 0-0 0, Mikaela Kilbane 0-0 2-2 2. TOTALS: 25-56 4-10 64.

Firestone — Yolanda Sims 3-10 2-5 8, Darien Carter 3-11 2-4 8, Ashley Phillips 2-7 2-2 6, Destini Turner 2-5 0-0 6, Savanah Blackwell 1-6 2-4 4, Terynn Williams 0-2 0-0 0, Ashley Ingram 0-4 1-2 1, D’Von Williams 0-3 0-0 0, Mykayla Cowling 0-0 0-0 0, Sara Van Newkirk 0-2 0-0 0. TOTALS: 11-50 9-17 33.

3-point goals — Brunswick 10-26 (Benner 8-18, Andrew 2-3, Steets 0-1, Gailey 0-2, Salisbury 0-2), Firestone 2-13 (Turner 2-4, Blackwell 0-1, Sims 0-2, Williams 0-2, Carter 0-3). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Brunswick 35 (Wasson 13), Firestone 30 (Phillips 9). Assists — Brunswick 19 (Salisbury 6), Firestone 8 (Williams 3). Turnovers — Brunswick 15 (Wasson 4), Firestone 21 (Sims, Blackwell 5). Total fouls — Brunswick 12, Firestone 8. Records —Brunswick (10-12), Firestone (14-8).