MENTOR — The Brunswick boys basketball team doesn’t mind working overtime.
The Blue Devils made the long drive to Mentor on Friday and knocked off the Cardinals 67-62 in overtime in a Greater Cleveland Conference game that was every bit déjà vu.
Six days earlier, Brunswick (7-1, 3-1) trailed Maple Heights by double digits, gave up a game-tying 3-pointer at the regulation buzzer and found just enough to win 65-63.
Fast forward to Mentor (5-3, 1-3), and the Blue Devils trailed by 13 in the third quarter, gave up a 23-foot shot by Luke Floriea (9 points) to end regulation and again showed the resolve to win.
“It was like Maple the other night,” Brunswick coach Joe Mackey said. “There was a lot of adversity. The same situation happened. The only difference is we were trying to foul (Maple Heights).
“A lot of heads went down, but not Kyle (Goessler) or Nick (Felician). They’ve been through it. They’ve been through a lot. We were down to Maple by 10 points. We were down by double digits tonight against one of the best teams in the area and our guys persevered.”
When things got tight down the stretch, Mentor folded and Goessler (career-high 28 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists) and Felician (15, 10, 3) did not.
Down eight with 4:20 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Blue Devils went on a 17-6 run and had the lead before Floriea’s 3-pointer tied things at 56.
Brunswick put itself back in control by showing resolve at the charity stripe, where it went 30-for-36 on the night.
After Blue Devils center Zak Zografos (7 points, 14 rebounds) fouled out with 4:20 remaining in regulation, Brunswick went at Mentor and fouled out Tadas Tatarunas, Matt Koski (17 points) and Shane Zalba (19) in a span of 22 seconds.
Goessler went 8-for-8 from the line in the fourth and Felician was 5-for-6 as the Blue Devils went 15-for-16. The two had 18 of the team’s 20 points in the frame (and 27 of their last 31 overall).
Still, it took OT for Brunswick to win.
“We’re used to overtime games since we just had one Saturday,” Felician said. “It was a huge product from that game. We were used to it and I don’t think they were.”
Once it hit overtime, defense stepped the forefront.
Goessler, who made 15 free throws on the night, and Felician combined for nine of the Blue Devils’ 11 points in extra time and Brunswick forced four missed shots.
“It was a real gutsy effort,” Mackey said. “Not just by those two, but by the whole team. I don’t think we played very good offensively, but I thought we were outstanding on the defensive end.
“I can’t say enough about it. I kept telling the bench we were going to win the game. Our kids went out and made some huge plays on the defensive end and made their free throws down the stretch. There was a lot of adversity down the stretch on both sides. It was a good win.”
While Goessler and Felician led the way in the final two quarters, two huge defensive stops in the final two minutes iced things.
The first came with Brunswick clinging to a two-point lead when Floriea drove to his right with 1:48 left in OT. Xavier Diaz blocked his shot and the ball ticked off Floriea out of bounds.
Mentor still had a chance to tie things with 8.9 seconds remaining, but a pass to the corner was deflected into the hands of Felician and Brunswick held on.
“We were able to stick together and get the win,” Goessler said. “We have a huge stretch coming up, so it was nice to keep it going.”
- Chicago Bears quarterback and No. 2 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft Mitchell Trubisky was on hand to watch his alma mater and brother Manning play. Trubisky, a 2013 graduate, won Mr. Football his senior season.
- The Mentor junior varsity defended its home gym with a 69-48 win. Trevor Mackey and Jeff Buttitta each scored seven points for Brunswick.
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brunswick 67, Mentor 62 (OT)
BRUNSWICK 11 9 16 20 11 — 67
MENTOR 11 15 5 15 6 — 62
Brunswick — Xavier Diaz 3-2-8, Alex Wyatt 2-2-7, Zak Zografos 3-0-7, Kyle Goessler 6-15-28, Nick Felician 3-9-15, Danny Dakdouk 0-2-2, Jason Becka 0-0-0. TOTALS: 17-30-67.
Mentor — Caden Kryz 0-2-2, Matt Koski 6-4-17, Tadas Tatarunas 1-2-4, Shane Zalba 8-1-19, Luke Floriea 4-0-9, Chad Blessing 3-0-6, Mason Trubisky 1-0-2, Nick Ventura 0-0-0, Ben Gingrich 1-0-3, Luke Chicone 0-0-0. TOTALS: 24-9-62.
3-point goals — Wyatt, Zografos, Goessler, Zalba 2, Gingrich, Floriea, Koski, Rebounds — Brunswick 36 (Zografos 14), Mentor 29 (Tatarunas 8). Assists — Brunswick 10 (Goessler, Felician 3), Mentor 11 (Floriea 5). Records — Brunswick (7-1, 3-1), Mentor (5-3, 1-3). Junior varsity — Mentor 69, Brunswick 48.