Rough and tumble

Brookfield’s tough play, late push too much for Red Dragons

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems Niles’ Kenzi Johnston (23) drives to the basket while being guarded by Brookfield’s Chloe Willrich, middle, and Dana Sydlowski. Warriors coach Marc Morgan, background, yells instructions from the bench. Brookfield won, 38-32.

BROOKFIELD — In a scrappy, rough game on both sides, Brookfield defeated Niles 38-32.

Early on in the first quarter, Brookfield got to free-throw line quite a bit but couldn’t string together a run. Niles (1-1) took advantage of that and led Brookfield (1-0) 10-9 after one quarter.

“The idea for us is to push the tempo,” Brookfield coach Marc Morgan said. “My game plan is try to give you easy baskets so that we get you behind our push. If we’re not efficient enough on the offensive end, it’s kind of hard to stay in that transition game.”

In the second quarter, Brookfield did a little more of that. The Warriors outscored Niles 12-6 in the frame behind eight points from Bailey Drapola. She dropped 17 to lead all scorers.

Brookfield led at halftime, 21-16.

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems Niles’ Madison Johnston (24) dribbles past the Warriors’ Dana Sydlowski.

“My girls fought to the end. We had opportunities and we missed a lot of easy shots,” Niles coach Doug Foster said. “I tell my girls every day that if you give heart, you give passion and you play hard every single day, I don’t care if we win or lose.”

In the second half, both teams went back and forth as Niles clawed back and trailed just 27-25 at the end of three quarters.

The most evident part of the game was the size difference between both teams. Brookfield has three girls above 5-feet-10, with Bailey Drapola at 5-10, Tori Sheehan at 5-11 and Dana Sydlowski at 6-0.

“The offensive glass is really important for us,” Sheehan said. “Coach will put us in and take us out, so we need to stay on top of it and get rebounds.”

Brookfield out-rebounded Niles, and that was part of the difference in the game.

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems Brookfield's Bailey Drapola, left, looks to pass against Niles’ Emma Delinger during their game Wednesday in Brookfield.

“Primarily, I tell my girls: don’t foul,” Morgan said. “I tell them to make other teams make shoot over our length. If they make a shot over that, good for them. I always tell my kids that I can get that bucket back, but I can’t get that foul back.”

Sierra Werden led the Red Dragons with 12 points.

Brookfield now gets a little time off as it goes on to face Liberty on the road on Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. Niles goes back home to face off against Boardman on Dec. 2 at 1:30 p.m.