BROOKFIELD - For the Girard Indians, it was a matter of picking the wrong night for a trip to play the Brookfield Warriors.
The Warriors were stung last Friday in a loss to Western Reserve Academy, which meant they were anxious to get back on the winning path. The Indians just happened to step in the way of one of the Warriors' best efforts of the season in a 77-64 win Tuesday night.
"They're very good," Indians coach Craig Hannon said. "They can dribble; they can shoot; they pass well together; they play above the rim. It's not like they're big, lumber bodies. They're athletic bodies. They do a little bit of everything very well. It's a tough matchup for us because of their size."
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
Brookfield’s Derek Dickson (14) glides past Girard’s Jim Standohar (2) to the basket as Craig Randall, left, follows the play on Tuesday.
It was another big night for senior Jeremy Quinlan, who made six 3-point shots on the way to a 27-point performance. Quinlan also led the Warriors in rebounding with 13.
Collin Harkulich had 15 points and seven rebounds for Brookfield (11-2). Jimmy Quinlan had 12 points, and Ryan Mosora added 11 to a balanced attack.
Warriors coach Bill Kovach was pleased with the effort after the lackluster showing in the loss to Western Reserve Academy.
"We needed to pick up our intensity," Kovach said. "That's what we talked about before the game, and we did it."
The first quarter played out like a 3-point shot contest. The Warriors made four shots from beyond the arc, including three by Jeremy Quinlan. The Indians made three 3-pointers, including a pair by talented sophomore Craig Randall.
Jeremy Quinlan was in a zone. It was almost as if Randall's 17-point performance brought out the best in him.
"You could say that, but if the shot's there and it's open, I'm going to shoot it," Jeremy Quinlan said. "But if it's not there I'm going to pass to my teammate. I'm not going to be a selfish teammate and get it to an open player for him to score."
The Indians (10-5) were within striking distance (40-32) at the end of the first half. It all changed on the strength of a Warriors' zone defense that limited the Indians to just eight points in the third quarter. Randall had just one 3-point shot in the second half.
"Randall is a special player," Kovach said. "He struggled with always having someone on him. If he got open for a second, there was someone waiting for him on the other side. We stressed that at halftime."
There's no question that the Warriors' size advantage was a factor.
"It really helps with five of us being over 6-foot," Harkulich said. "The size won. That always helps in basketball."
Jeremy Quinlan opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer. Randall answered with a 3-point shot, but Jeremy Quinlan followed with his final 3-point shot. Brookfield stretched its lead to 59-40 entering the final period and led by as many as 23 points (69-46) in the late going.
It was another win on the way to what Brookfield hopes will be the number one seed in the drawing for the Division III district tournament.
"We're feeling good right now," Harkulich said. "We have to keep on winning. Hopefully, we can get that one seed."
Korri Maynard led the Indians in scoring with 18 points. Evan Standohar had 11.
Girard is at Liberty Friday. Brookfield host Liberty the next night.