One of the characteristics of a successful team is its ability to win close games that are decided in the closing minutes. It’s still early in the season, but the Brunswick School basketball team has certainly shown a penchant for rising to the occasion in crunch time and pulling out tight wins.
A day after defeating FAA rival Rye Country Day School by four points, the Bruins were embroiled in another close matchup, this time against visiting Avon Old Farms School. And once again, the Bruins sealed the deal in the final minutes of action.
The duo of Tristan Joseph and Wyatt Triestman enabled Brunswick to do so, scoring 21 points apiece in the team’s 56-51 victory against Avon Old Farms at Dann Gymnasium. With their third consecutive win, the Bruins upped their record to 6-1.
“We’ve had a lot of back-to-back games, today being one of them,” Brunswick coach Steve Juricek said. “We were at RCDS yesterday and won a close one, it’s always tough playing back-to-back, but luckily, we were home. They’ve got a great squad and we prepared for them.”
Effective defensive play helped spark Brunswick’s latest triumph.
“We came out and we knew we had to execute,” Juricek said. “They’re very talented and they are deep with shooters and an inside presence. We did our best to make shoot over our hands.”
The Bruins, who mix it up between a 2-3 zone and man-to-man defense, have all but one of their foes to under 55 points through six games.
“We tried to keep games in the 50s and 40, so we tried to pressure them on the perimeter and make them take a lot of time on the shot clock,” Juricek said.
Joseph, a senior point guard/shooting guard, scored 12 of his 21 points in the first half. He converted a 3-pointer and effectively drove to the basket throughout the game. His consistent penetration also opened up several scoring opportunities for his teammates.
“It was a much-needed win,” said Joseph, who will play basketball at Middlebury College next season. “In the past, we struggled with adversity, but now this year this team is handling it well. When it comes down to crunch time, we all play together and try to keep the ball on our side every single position.”
A 3-pointer from the right side by Triestman increased the Bruins’ lead to 48-41 with 3:22 remaining in the second half. Joseph made a pair of foul shots, making it 50-43.
Triestman swished four free throws in the final three minutes and senior guard Charlie Johnson made a foul shot to help cap the triumph. Triestman poured in 13 points during the second half and made four 3-pointers during the NEPSAC matchup.
“We’re executing and working as hard as we can,” Triestman said. “All the pieces are coming together and we’re showing what kind of team we are. We’re showing we can compete not just at the FAA level, but at the NEPSAC level too.”
Junior center Jon Sigurdsson had five points, while Johnson and junior forward Sam Sealy each contributed three points for the victors.
“When our offense is clicking we are pretty dynamic and today it was clicking. We’re definitely happy about the start we’re off to,” Juricek said. “The boys know if we give it 100 percent effort that’s how we’re going to be successful.”
Indeed, the Bruins have succeeded in getting multiple players involved in its offense each game.
“It’s been working really well,” Triestman said of the Bruins’ offense. “What gets everyone open is when everyone is being active and driving and kicking. We’re getting everyone involved, which makes us harder to guard as a whole. It feels great to get a big NEPSAC win.”
Senior forward William Moreau scored 21 points, 15 of which came in the second half, for Avon Old Farms. Lucas Gudavicus, a senior guard, added 11 points for Avon.
Brunswick will compete in the NEPSAC Class A Showcase at St. Sebastian’s School on Friday and Saturday. The Bruins will play St. Sebastian’s on Friday and St. Paul’s on Saturday.
“We’re definitely looking forward to it as a team,” Joseph said. “We know who we’re facing, we’re not taking any team lightly. We know we can hang with the best of them. It’s going to come down to effort and hustle. Coach has us going pretty intense in practice every day, so we know what is expected of us every time. We have to go 110 percent no matter what the circumstance is.”