RYE, N.Y. -- Excelling in transition, Brunswick School built a double-digit lead on Rye Country Day School late in the first half of Monday's FAA basketball game. The second half, the Bruins were just plain hot.
Sizzling from the perimeter, while clamping down defensively, Brunswick quickly turned a relatively close game into a rout, starting the second half with 21 unanswered points. And everyone seemed to join the Bruins' scoring spree.
Senior forward Nick Kono scored a team-high 15 points, while junior point guard Henry Taylor added 13 points for Brunswick, which coasted to a convincing 78-54 win over the host Wildcats.
Ten different players scored for the Bruins, who gained a measure of revenge on Rye Country Day after falling to the Wildcats in last season's FAA Tournament quarterfinals.
"It definitely feels good to get a big victory against them," said Taylor who made four 3-pointers. "We fought hard against them and lost on this court last year in the playoffs, so it was great to come out here today and get a league win."
"We were playing hard on defense and did a good job of running our offensive sets against their zone," Wadsworth said. We made our open shots today and we also got out in transition for easy layups."
The Bruins (10-7, 8-2 FAA) who dropped a 66-62 decision to the Wildcats in last year's FAA Tournament, used their full court press to force numerous turnovers in the opening half. As the turnovers mounted, Rye Country Day's deficit grew. Leading 37-33, the visitors ended the first half with a 9-2 run to seize an 11-point advantage. O'Malley scored on a putback, Sherwood swished a 3-pointer, Wadsworth made a basket off a strong low post move and James Robinson converted a layup, making it a 46-33 game.
That was just the beginning of the Bruins' eye-opening run. Taylor converted a 3-pointer from the left side, Hardin made back-to-back baskets and Taylor made two more shots from beyond the arc, putting RCDS in a 59-35 hole. The lead eventually grew to 65-35 before the Wildcats finally scored their first points of the second half with 10:12 remaining. While Brunswick flourished against Rye Country Day's 2-3 zone, the Wildcats had trouble running their offense against the Bruins' aggressive man-to-man.
"Our defense was strong, especially in the second half," said Brunswick coach Robert Taylor, whose squad is currently in second place behind Greens Farms Academy in the FAA. "If we play good defense, we are competitive. The first half, they had trouble handling our press, so we tried to take advantage of our press when we could."
It looked as though the rivals were on their way to another back-and-forth matchup. Behind the backcourt tandem of Tyler Fernandez and Salim Green, the Wildcats jumped out to a 16-11 lead and held a 24-23 edge with just under seven minutes remaining in the first half. Fernandez and Green each scored 21 points, but the Bruins slowed them down toward the end of the opening half. The rest of the RCDS squad managed only 12 points.
Kono's foul line jumper and 3-pointer gave Brunswick the lead for good at 28-24. O'Malley then scored seven points off the bench the final four minutes of the half for Brunswick, which consistently got out on the break. The Bruins also received nine points from forward Sam Fraser.
"We just wanted to get out and run because we have been working at that a lot in practice," said Kono, a senior. "It was nice to get off to a good start in the first half and in the second half, Henry Taylor got real hot and we fed off his energy."
Always hustling, O'Malley helped spark the Bruins off the bench, along with Sherwood.
"It's awesome that coach gives me an opportunity to come of the bench," O'Malley said. "He calls us the `scrap squad' because we put pressure on the other teams. This was a great team effort. Hopefully, it's a big momentum swing for us heading into the final stretch of the season."
BRUNSWICK 46 32 -- 78
RYE COUNTRY DAY 35 19 -- 54
Henry Taylor 4 1-2 13; Nick Kono 5 4-6 15; Sam Fraser 4 1-2 9; Dylan Wadsworth 3 1-4 7; Ryan Hardin 3 0-0 7; James Robinson 2 0-2 4; Jimmy Knight 2 0-0 4; Alex Skolds 1 0-0 2; Billy O'Malley 3 1-2 7; Jack Sherwood 4 0-0 10; Sean Forester 0 0-0 0; Kevin Downs 0 0-0 0. Totals: 31 8-18 78.
RYE COUNTRY DAY (54)
Tyler Fernandez 6 8-11 21; Salim Green 6 8-8 21; Matt Farber 0 2-2 2; Vince Conn 2 0-0 5; Dylan Bass 0 0-0 0; Alex Kassin 0 0-0 0; Jack Zenkel 0 0-0 0; Peter Shea 0 0-0 0; James McPhail 2 1-2 5; Jeremiah Washington 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 19-23 54.