Brunswick School experienced quite a reversal of fortune Thursday against FAA basketball rival Rye Country Day School.
When the teams met on Dec. 18, the Wildcats posted a 26-point win over the Bruins, behind outstanding 3-point shooting. Yet Thursday, Brunswick made sure it had the upperhand.
Building a 15-point halftime lead that eventually grew to 19 in the second half, Brunswick held off a late run by Rye Country Day and registered a 61-55 win at Dann Gymnasium.
Senior 6-foot-5 forward Khari Wilson scored a team-high 14 points to pace the Bruins (3-6, 2-2 FAA), who snapped a five-game losing streak.
“They beat us pretty bad at Rye Country Day, so we knew we had to defend our home court against them,” Wilson said. “We knew they were going to come out with intensity, so we had to jump on them at the go.”
Freshman guard Logan Galletta scored 13 points, while junior forward Colin Mulshine added 13 more points to also pace Brunswick’s offense.
“The theme was energy, aggressiveness and to come out and play hard,” said Galletta, who shot 4 for 4 from the foul line. “When they made a comeback, we knew we just had to stick to our game plan and not let them shoot the three and play hard defensively.”
Guard Shane Regan sparked Rye Country Day with 22 points, while backcourt mate Ben Pearce added 16 points. The Wildcats, who made 13 3-pointers in their previous meeting against the Bruins, cut a 19-point deficit to one point with under less than 10 seconds remaining. But the Bruins held on for the much-needed victory.
“Last game we lost to them and we found out a lot about their personnel,” Bruins coach Steve Juricek said. “They shot the lights out, so we wanted to chase them off the 3-point line and make sure they weren’t getting those open looks.”
Wilson connected on a pair of 3-pointers and Galletta swished a shot from beyond the arc, giving the Bruins a 20-9 lead midway through the first half. A basket by senior guard Cedric Lefleur put the Bruins ahead, 27-14, at the 4:35 mark. Junior forward James Sealy scored off a putback and junior guard Dan Arnold converted a layup, making it 33-18 at halftime.
“That’s the best we’ve come out in any half,” Juricek said. “We had a good practice yesterday (Wednesday), a good pre-game warm-up and had good energy.”
Sealy’s layup gave the Bruins their biggest lead at 37-18 with 13:38 remaining in the second half. The home team also led 42-24 at the 11:10 mark after Lafleur’s basket, before RCDS mounted a comeback.
Pearce and Regan ignited the rally, with effective 3-point shooting and drives to the basket. Yet the Bruins forced enough turnovers with their man-to-man defense to prevail. Noah Rosenthal’s 3-pointer from the top of the key, brought RCDS to within 56-55 with five seconds to play. Following a foul, Galletta swished two foul shots, making it 58-55 with 2.6 seconds left.
“He is playing wise beyond his years,” Juricek said of Galletta. “He’s a seasoned player and finds the open guy and knows when to attack.”
Sealy had seven points, while Lafleaur and forward Henry Caponiti added four points for the victors.
“It’s about playing hard and having energy,” said Mulshine, who made a 3-pointer at the buzzer. “This is one of the games we had the most energy. We start our offense from our defense.”