Brookfield moves to 3-0 with big win over Champion
“I thought we played well,” Warriors coach Ken Forsythe said. “We’ve come a long way. It was a hard-fought battle to the end, one of the best teams in the area, we stood our ground and maybe made a name for ourselves too.”
Trailing 38-36 with 3 minutes remaining in the contest, Brookfield (3-0) scored the tying basket. It then grabbed two consecutive steals and turned them into fast break buckets to gain the lead, a testament to the aggressive defense the Warriors ran late in the game.
“All season, all preseason, all summer, we’ve been all about defense, defense, defense,” Forsythe said. “That’s what got us a couple quick steals there, and we got a couple easy buckets out of it. We felt we could get the ball out and push it tonight, and that’s what we were able to do to get us back in the game.”
While it was the defense that got the Warriors back, the offense was no slouch.
Sophomore Sophia Hook led the team with 18 points, and Audrey Reardon scored 14. Brookfield scored 23 points in the fourth quarter after a tepid five-point third quarter.
As for the Flashes, Emma Gumont led Champion with a game-high 19 points.
“There was no flow,” Flashes coach Michael Cole said. “We got in a little bit of foul trouble there, and it was just not a very pretty sight. Passing wasn’t very good offensively. We haven’t clicked yet. I thought our offense against LaBrae was bad.
“We’re only a couple weeks in, (so) we’re fine. I thought my girls played hard. I’m not leaving here upset. They’ve got some pretty solid, fantastic players and made some shots. They played hard, we played hard, it just didn’t work out for us.”
With play stopping as often as it did (there were 53 total free throws taken), it was hard for either team to get into a rhythm. To Cole, that’s still no excuse, saying his team needs to adapt to the frequency of foul calls.
“At the end of the day, we’ve got to adjust too,” Cole said. “Sometimes we reach a little too much, and we’ve got to stop that, we’ve got to tighten that up and just get our angles and move our feet a little bit better. We’ll be OK.”
Due to the high amount of foul calls, with five players fouling out during the game, Champion’s Brooke Whitt, who picked up three fouls early, spent a large portion of the game on the bench, so she could be saved for crunch time. Thankfully, they have another solid option to slide into the post.
“(When Brooke is on the bench) Mady Jones comes in and she’s really good,” Cole said. “We’ve got a really nice post coming in off the bench. I thought she did excellent today. She doesn’t give you some of the things Brooke does, but she’s always dialed in.
“Sometimes I like to play all three of those bigs (Whitt, Gumont, Jones) at the same time if we can.”
Champion (1-1) hosts Newton Falls on Monday, while the Warriors travel to Mineral Ridge on Saturday.
For Brookfield, to start 3-0 in a season marred with insecurity is important. Finding the footing has been tough, but at the end of the day, they’re not making excuses.
“Not being able to practice a lot and trying to get them back into the middle of things, it’s tough,” Forsythe said. “We can’t have excuses, we’ve just got to execute at the end.”