Brunswick basketball team beats Rye Country Day in FAA quarterfinals
Updated 12:50 am, Thursday, February 21, 2013
Still fresh in the Bruins' minds was a four-point regular season loss they suffered to Rye Country Day two weeks ago, and of course, last year's disappointing defeat at the hands of the Wildcats in the postseason.
It certainly wasn't easy, but the Bruins got even.
On life support for a while, Brunswick's season was saved this time and it took every ounce of determination from the Bruins to keep it going. Point guard Henry Taylor scored 13 of his team-high 18 points in the second half and forward Nick Kono had 16 points for second-seeded Brunswick, which came back from a 15-point deficit to edge seventh-seeded Rye Country Day School, 74-69.
The Bruins (14-9) advanced to Friday's FAA semifinals where they will face visiting Masters School. Masters downed St. Luke's, 59-52, in Wednesday's quarterfinals.
Facing first-half deficits of 19-5 and 34-19, the Bruins shifted the tempo to their favor in the second half, pushing the ball up the court, while crashing the backboards. Brunswick, which had trouble scoring during the opening half, put 49 points on the scoreboard after intermission.
"I told everyone before we stepped on the court for the second half that we just have to believe in ourselves," said Kono a senior. "We worked too hard to get to this point to let it go by the way side. We just dug down deep."
The prior losses to Rye Country Day (9-11) was also a source of motivation.
"I remember those two games very well," Kono said. "We said before the game, the third time would not be the charm for them."
Sparked by their dynamic backcourt of Tyler Fernandez, Salim Green and Vince Conn, Rye Country Day shot the lights out in the first half. Green scored 13 of his game-high 23 points, while Conn had 14 points, including four 3-pointers. Fernandez finished the game with 19 points.
"We executed well at the beginning of the game, we just ran out of gas and they hit some big shots late," Rye Country Day coach Torsie Judkins said. "They have some strong kids and received a lot of senior leadership."
Trailing 57-54, the Bruins tied the score when guard Jack Sherwood swished a 3-pointer with 4:41 remaining. The Bruins scored the next 10 points to seize a 67-57 advantage with just over two minutes left to play. Forward Teddy Murphy banked home a shot in the lane, Taylor nailed back-to-back 3-pointers and forward Sam Fraser scored on a putback, putting the Bruins up by 10. Taylor helped jump start the Bruins' offense, converting four shots from beyond the arc in the second half.
Consecutive baskets from Fernandez gave the Wildcats a 51-39 lead with 11:20 remaining. Then the Bruins began one of their best comebacks of the season. Against the Wildcats' 2-3 zone, Kono hit a short jumper, Taylor made a 3-pointer, Fraser scored off a rebound and Kono buried a 3-pointer, making it a 51-49 game. Taylor's 3-pointer with 7:30 left gave Brunswick a 54-53 edge -- its first lead since the game's opening minutes. Forcing turnovers with their fullcourt press, the Bruins had more fastbreak baskets in the second half.
"The second half, we played good defense," Taylor said. "The first half, we did not wait for our offense to progress and were taking the first shot available. We executed much better in the second half."
An eye-opening 17-0 run put the visitors on top, 19-5 at the midway point of the first half. Conn fueled the spurt with three 3-pointers, while Green had six points.
"They came out and shot the ball really well and scored a lot in transition," Bruins coach Robert Taylor said. "We did not respond well to either one of those situations. But in the second half we picked up the intensity, kept pressing and increased the tempo."
Senior forward/center Dylan Wadsworth scored all eight of his points in the second half and finished the night with a team-best 22 rebounds, while Fraser contributed 12 points.
"We lost to this team last year in the first round and St. Luke's the year before, so we really felt like we had to take advantage of our home court advantage this year," Wadsworth said. "They hit their open shots and were hot in the first half. The second half, we got the ball to our big men in the middle and then kicked it out to the guards for open shots."
Said Fraser: "The beginning of the game we were flat and didn't execute and we knew we couldn't end our season this way. We knew we had the firepower to come back and get out and run and it worked."
RYE COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL............36 33 -- 69
BRUNSWICK.................................25 49 -- 74
Henry Taylor 6 1-2 18; Ryan Hardin 1 2-2 5; Nick Kono 5 3-4 16; Sam Fraser 6 0-1 12; Dylan Wadsworth 4 0-1 8; James Robinson 1 2-2 4; Jack Sherwood 1 0-0 3; Teddy Murphy 2 0-0 4; Billy O'Malley 0 4-4 4. Totals: 26 12-16 74.
RYE COUNTRY DAY (69)
Tyler Fernandez 7 0-0 19; Salim Green 6 10-15 24; Jack Zenkel 0 0-0 0; Ignacio de Leva 3 4-5 10; Vince Conn 5 0-1 14; James McPhail 1 0-0 2; Peter Shea 0 0-0 0; Alex Kassin 0 0-0 0; Matt Farber 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22 14-21 69.
3-pointers: B -- Taylor 5, Kono 3, Hardin, Sherwood; RCDS -- Fernandez 5, Conn 4, Green 2.