Entering the postseason with momentum is always a good thing and the Brunswick School basketball team has plenty of it, thanks to a winning streak it’s strung together over a two-week span.
The Bruins are riding a five-game success streak, with their latest win coming Wednesday against FAA foe Greenwich Country Day School.
Junior 6-foot-10 center Jon Sigurdsson scored a game-high 24 points, guard Malik Samms added 10 points and Brunswick capitalized on its size advantage in a 62-41 triumph against visiting Greenwich Country Day.
Brunswick improved its record to 7-1 in the FAA and 11-7 overall with its fifth straight victory. They will be seeded No. 1 in the eight-team FAA Tournament, which commences on Tuesday. Putting together a solid season in its first full varsity year, Greenwich Country Day has a conference record of 5-3 and should be seeded fifth in the FAA tourney.
Brunswick jumped out to leads of 8-0 and 13-2, before the Tigers began converting some shots, cutting the Bruins’ lead to 26-16 at halftime.
“We came out intense, unfortunately, it seemed like we took our foot off the gas a little bit once we gained that lead,” Brunswick coach Steve Juricek said. “GCDS is a good team, so you have to make sure you’re applying pressure and playing at 100 percent at all times.”
For Greenwich Country Day, which dropped an 81-57 decision to the Bruins last month, guard Lemar Fulmare scored a team-best 16 points, while guard Reggie Grodin had nine points. A sign of things to come occurred in this matchup’s opening seconds. After the Bruins gained possession following the opening tip, Sigurdsson scored on a dunk off an alley-oop pass perfectly delivered by Samms seven seconds into the first half.
“We usually start our games off with a lob, to get the mentality right to start it off,” Sigurdsson said. “Malik threw the perfect pass and I went up and got it.”
Senior guard Tristan Joseph scored seven points and helped facilitate the offense, senior forward Nick Burns tallied eight points and senior guard Charlie Johnson and junior forward Matt Augustine (6-foot-7) had four points apiece for the victors.
“At the start of the season we didn’t actually realize how deep we are, so it’s a good thing to have going into playoffs, having a deep bench,” Juricek said.
A basket by Sigurdsson, back-to-back layups by Samms and Sigurdsson put the Bruins on top, 10-2, with 10:40 remaining in the first half. Eight first-half points by Fulmare kept the Tigers within striking distance. His basket at the 2:55 mark of the opening half, brought the visitors to within 22-16, before Augustine made a short jumper.
Sigurdsson scored off three more dunks in the second half, while Joseph and Samms helped the Bruins pick up the pace offensively.
“We adjusted throughout the course of the game with what we were doing in the halfcourt,” Juricek said. “We had no fastbreak points, at halftime, so the way we adjusted coming out of the gate in the second half – just getting in transition, was impressive.”
A 3-pointer by Fulmare cut Brunswick’s advantage to 32-21, then the Bruins opened a 40-24 lead by the 10:58 mark of the second half, behind another alley-oop dunk from Sigurdsson.
“All the credit to Tristan and Malik,” Sigurdsson said. “They hooked me up with the passes on the fastbreak. Tristan through it up there, Malik had some nice dishes and I just went up there and got it.”
During their current five-game winning streak, Brunswick has beaten Greens Farms Academy, St. Luke’s School, Hamden Hall Country Day School, Hopkins School and today’s foe GCDS.
“I’m very confident in our team heading into the playoffs,” Samms said. “We have come a long way and fought through some adversity. A couple of our starters went down during the season, but we worked through adversity, picked it back up and at the end of the day, we’re the No. 1 seed and that’s all we can ask for.”
“Having two guys, a 6-7 guy and a 6-10 guy, it’s hard for a lot of teams to match up with us,” Samms continued. “We can just dump it down, because we have size on pretty much every team in the FAA. Jon and Matty make a big difference.”
Brunswick closes out its regular season Thursday with its Senior Day game against Greens Farms Academy at 5 p.m.
“We want to get a win for the seniors and get ready for the playoffs,” Sigurdsson said. “We’ve been up and down this season, especially with the injuries, but with Tristan back and Malik playing great, it’s good to have everyone on the floor and have the chemistry there. We’re having fun now.”
Said Juricek: “Jon, he’s really been coming into his own the second half of the season. It has clicked for him at the right time. Him and Tristan on any given day have been carrying us offensively, Malik’s been stepping up, we’re really rounding into being a nice squad.”