Brookfield pulls away from Mathews for win
VIENNA – Brookfield could chalk up its first-half breakdowns to a youthful roster, peppered with juniors, sophomores, a freshman and two seniors.
The Warriors held the ball in the final minute before intermission. With 10 seconds remaining, Brookfield shot an airball from the corner – giving Mathews one-last shot.
Mathews’ Cobie Pratt eventually buried a 3 at the buzzer to close its deficit against Brookfield to three points.
“We’re a young team that’s learning,” Brookfield coach Bill Kovach said. “We’re getting better. I think our decision making needs to get better.
“Once that happens, we’re going to be pretty good.”
Then, Mathews shooting stalled and Brookfield’s on-court prowess became much more fluid as the Warriors rolled to a 67-40 victory Tuesday at Mathews High School.
Brookfield slipped through the Mustangs press so many times in the third quarter they were literally playing a full-court game of pitch and catch.
“Two things – we really pushed the ball on missed shots,” said Kovach, whose team improved to 3-0. “We hard a hard time getting back. They were setting up in a 2-2-1.
“The other thing would be our defense. In the second half, they had a hard time getting good shots.”
Mathews coach Jason Lee said the style of play changed after intermission.
“Brookfield brings a football team,” he said. “They play physical. The first half, our up and down movement got their physical play out of where we needed them to be.
“In the second half, they came back from that locker room ready to be physical.”
Lee, whose team plays Friday at Grand Valley, saw the Mustangs (2-2) held to 12 points in the second half.
“It is what it is,” Lee said. “We missed a lot of lay-ups. We missed a lot of foul shots. Things don’t go our way. Then, you score 12 points in the second half.”
Mathews tried to cause its normal havoc with its zones and trapping defenses, which kept the Mustangs close in the first 16 minutes.
Brookfield committed 10 first-half turnovers, mostly unforced, that kept Mathews close the first half.
“We were not necessarily giving up easy lay-ups, but allowing them make mental mistakes,” Lee said. “I think they helped us out the first half.
“The second half, they didn’t do that. They got the ball to the middle really well. They had a couple of guys leaking that really hurt us.”
Brookfield’s Seth Wallace led the Warriors with 17 points, while Caleb Hunkus added 11. Pratt led Mathews with 12 points, while Wyatt Ford added 11.
Kovach said playing an up-tempo team like Mathews helped his young squad prepare for teams like Liberty, Girard and others the Warriors will face this season. Brookfield hosts Youngstown Christian on Friday.
“We learned tonight we have to get back on defense and transition – find our guys,” he said. “We have to get better on that to improve on the season.”