WINTERSVILLE - Brooke could have folded Friday when Indian Creek, thanks to its defensive pressure, turned an eight-point halftime deficit into a third quarter lead.
Instead, the Bruins "maintained our composure," as veteran coach Dave Reitter correctly noted and earned a hard-fought 53-49 victory over the previously unbeaten Redskins.
"This was a good win," Reitter said. "As usual, Joe (Dunlevy) has his kids playing well. Anytime you can come here and win, you know you've earned it and you played good basketball."
UP FOR TWO — Indian Creek’s Frank Kamarec goes up for two points despite the defensive efforts of Brooke’s Russell Schwertfeger during the second quarter of Friday’s game in Wintersville, won by the Bruins, 53-49.
The Bruins (3-1) got off to a fast start against Dunlevy and his defensive-minded cagers. Consecutive triples by four-year starter Eric Johnson and an inside deuce by Jesse Gambellin fueled a 12-0 first-quarter run by Brooke. Johnson capped the burst when recorded a block on the defensive end, drove the length of the floor and scored.
Brooke swished seven of its first 12 shots to grab a 19-11 lead. Both teams scored 12 second period points and the Bruins took a 31-23 advantage into the locker room. Reitter's club knocked down half of its 24 first half field goal tries.
Creek stepped up its defensive intensity in the third stanza and Frank Kamarec caught fire on the offensive end. He registered six markers off nifty baseline drives and also canned a jumper in the lane. Meanwhile, Brooke's offense was held in check, hoisting 11 shots and making just two.
Brooke 53, Indian Creek 49
Brooke 19 12 5 17 - 53
Indian Creek 11 12 14 12 - 49
BROOKE (3-1): Dameron 2 0-0 5; Cole 0 0-0 0; Schambach 0 0-0 0; Johnson 5 3-4 16; Wallace 3 6-9 12; Heaton 2 0-0 4; Schwertfeger 3 3-6 9; Gambellin 3 1-2 7. TOTALS: 18 13-21 53. 3-pointers: Dameron, Johnson (3); Rebounds: 23 (Johnson, Wallace 6); Turnovers: 14.
INDIAN CREEK (4-1): Kamarec 7 1-5 18; Furda 1 5-6 8; Roar 1 1-4 3; Young 3 3-6 9; Haught 1 0-0 2; Durbin 0 0-0 0; Sullivan 2 0-0 4; Winland 2 1-1 5. TOTALS: 17 11-22 49. 3-pointers: Kamarec (3), Furda; Rebounds: 29 (Kamarec 8, Young 7); Turnovers: 12.
Alex Young gave Creek its first lead since the opening frame when he dropped through a couple of free tosses. Kamarec's final basket put the Redskins ahead 37-36 heading into the final eight minutes.
Aquil Dameron helped Brooke in the composure department when he got nothing but net on a deep three ball to open the fourth. Johnson followed with his first basket since the opening quarter and Brooke had the lead back for good at 41-37.
Russell Schwertfeger, limited to just a pair for three quarters, came up big down the stretch, scoring seven points. Brooke converted on eight of 13 final stanza free throw attempts to seal the deal.
Kamarec connected twice from behind the arc to keep the Redskins close. Unfortunately, Dunlevy's unit could only make four of eight tries from the line.
"We maintained our composure late and that's a credit to our kids," Reitter pointed out. "In the third quarter, we quit attacking the basket. You have to credit Creek's defense for some of that. But give our kids credit too. We didn't fold and we came back strong."
Johnson paced Brooke in scoring with 16. He also had four blocks. Hunter Wallace added 12, including four big free throws in the final period. Schwertfeger contributed nine for the Bruins, who finished 18 of 43 from the floor and 13 for 21 at the stripe.
Kamarec took game scoring honors with 18. Young had nine and Matt Furda eight. Creek, now 4-1, was 17 of 42 from the field and 11 for 22 at the line.
"We played good defense after the first quarter," said Dunlevy whose team held its last two opponents to under 30 points. "That's my fault because we weren't ready to play. We gave up 19 in the first. If we had played defense in the first quarter, we win the game.
"When guys are standing still and shooting against us, we are not playing defense like we should. Brooke has a nice team, but we just didn't get a good start."
The Redskins are back in action tonight when they visit Weir.
Brooke will head to Orlando next week to compete in the KSA Holiday Tournament at the Disney Wide World of Sports complex. The Bruins will meet Horace Mann High School from New York at 11:45 a.m. on Dec. 28. They also will play on Dec. 29 and Dec. 31.