ELYRIA — Brunswick got a boost from the defense Wednesday night to overtake Elyria in Northeast Ohio Conference action.
But it was a sophomore guard that revved up the offense in the third quarter, lifing the Blue Devils from a six-point halftime rut to a 51-37 win.
Paige Salisbury, who was held scoreless in the first half, scored seven points in the third quarter, including a personal 4-0 run to open the period. And before you knew it, Brunswick was in control and never trailed again.
Salisbury scored again during a 6-0 Blue Devils run that created a 26-24 lead. Then, after the Pioneers earned a tie at 28, Brunswick went on a 7-2 run to lead 37-33 going into the final eight minutes.
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Do the math and you learn the revitalized Blue Devils outscored the Pioneers 21-11 in the third and held them to four points — and one basket — in the fourth.
“At halftime we talked about how we needed to outwork the (other) team to win because our talent was at about the same level,” said Salisbury, who finished with nine points. “So (coach Halle Lengal) told us we had to come out and work hard, and we did.
“Coming back like that comes from working hard and our team does that well. After we’re behind, we know we have to work hard to do it and we always come out strong in the second half.”
Meanwhile, Brunswick got 10 second-half points from Gabrielle Bulic, a 6-foot-4 senior post. Bulic, a Michigan recruit, finished with a game-high 18 points and was also strong on the backboards. Even so, Elyria post Alexis Middlebrooks, a 6-0 junior, stayed with her. In fact, Elyria ended up winning the boards, 35-28.
The Blue Devils (4-2, 2-0 NOC) didn’t have to exhaust themselves on the offensive glass. They were 52.3 percent from the field on 23-of-44 shooting. At the same time, that revitalized defense limited Elyria (2-1, 0-2) to 27.3 percent field-goal shooting and forced 10 second-half turnovers.
“Our big focus this season has been defense,” Brunswick’s Lengal said. “It’s been a work in progress, but every game it’s gotten better. So definitely that was the first thing we wanted to talk about at halftime. It wasn’t necessarily the defense in the first half, it was more the intensity of the defense that needed to pick up. So we changed that in the second half and obviously it worked well for us.”
Elyria trailed 10-6 after a quarter, but went on a 14-0 run that took up most of the second quarter. During the rally, the Pioneers got five points from junior guard Jocelyn Spraggins, three from senior Alexis Roseboro, two foul shots by Middlebrooks and a basket each from senior Mary Jones and sophomore Sybil Roseboro.
Sybil’s sister Alexis opened the quarter with a turnaround shot that cut the Brunswick lead to 12-8 and Sybil also finished the period with five points. Middlebrooks, with 10 points, was the only Pioneer in double figures. Jones added nine.
“We were up at half, but we missed a lot of easy bunnies, a lot of inside shots, but maybe because of Bulic being in there,” Elyria coach Mike Walsh said. “We were up six at half, but we probably should have been up a little more. When we came out of the locker room (for the second half), it just seemed like we didn’t have the same intensity.
“We were the aggressor most of the first half, and in the second half they became the aggressor,” he added. “We looked like we were the ones being hunted. We should have been the ones going after them. I don’t know if we got a little bit complacent because we had the lead or what.”
Brunswick 51, Elyria 37
BRUNSWICK (51): Cassie Steets 2-0-6, Courtney Laudato 3-2-8, Bri Moss 4-0-8,Gabrielle Bulic 9-0-18, Melissa Movens 0-0-0, Samantha Gut 0-0-0, Monica Wasson 1-0-2, Paige Salisbury 4-1-9. Totals: 23-3-51.
ELYRIA (37): Sybil Roseboro 1-0-2, Mikayla Christian 0-0-0, Shayla Middlebrooks 1-0-2, Mary Jones 4-1-9, Jocelyn Spraggins 3-1-7, Alexis Roseboro 3-1-7, Alexis Middlebrooks 3-4-10, Mariah Johnson 0-0-0, Bryanna trozzo 0-0-0. Totals: 15-7-37.
Brunswick 10 6 21 14 — 51
Elyria 6 16 11 4 — 37
3-point goals: Brunswick 2-5 (Steets 2); Elyria 0-11.. Field goals: Brunswick 23-44 (52.3 percent); Elyria 15-55 (27.3 percent). Free throws: Brunswick 3-6; Elyria 7-11. Rebounds: Brunswick 28; Elyria 35. Turnovers: Brunswick 8; Elyria 13. Fouled out: None.
Junior varsity: Elyria, 31-26.
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or email@example.com.