HOWLAND - Brookfield's defense forced 23 turnovers as it handled Burton Berkshire, 57-29, to move on to the district semifinals in the Division III district tournament at Howland High School.
Brookfield's Collin Harkulich scored the Warriors' first five points and his team led 5-4 early in the first quarter. After that, Harkulich got some help. Brookfield's Jeremy Quinlan led the surge as the Warriors closed out the first quarter on a 13-2 run to take a 18-6 advantage.
"We just get it to the open guy and someone puts it in the hole," Quinlan said. "It's just how we play."
Quinlan ended with a game-high 22 points and nine rebounds. Harkulich chipped in 14 and Derrick Dickson added 10 for the Warriors.
The second quarter was a defensive battle as only 20 points were scored between the two teams. Berkshire tightened the screws defensively but continued to struggle on the offensive end. Brookfield won the quarter, 12-8.
The Warriors forced 11 turnovers in the first half, which resulted in fast-break points at the other end. Specifically, the Warriors' defensive game plan was to contain Berkshire's Tim Ludlow.
"Everything we did was geared to help on him," Brookfield's coach Bill Kovach said. "We helped on hedging picks just to stop him because he's a really good player."
Ludlow finished with 11 points.
Brookfield opened the third quarter with a 30-14 lead. The Warriors' defense continued to make everything difficult on the Badgers.
Erick Burzanko and Ludlow combined to score 21 of the Badgers 29 total points in the game.
"We were playing great defense all night and we shut down their top scorer" Quinlan said.
The third quarter belonged to Brookfield. The Warriors outscored the Badgers, 21-9, in the frame to extend their lead to 51-23 heading to the fourth.
"It's really hard when you get up to continue to execute and I thought we did a fairly good job of that," Kovach said. "It's important even when you look at the score to keep executing."
With the game in hand, Brookfield eased the defensive pressure, which resulted in less steals and less fast-break points. The Warriors slowed it down offensively and were still able to maintain their healthy lead.
The win wasn't only important because it enabled the Warriors to advance to the district semifinal against Ursuline. The win carried a bit of the revenge factor.
"It was a good feeling because they actually beat us on a last-second shot last year so this was especially good for our seniors," Kovach said.
Tuesday's game against the Fighting Irish will tipoff at 7 p.m.