Since returning back to action after having a little more than a week without games, due to exam week, Brunswick’s School’s basketball team has looked like a team on a mission.
The Bruins, who appeared in the FAA Tournament final last season, have reeled off five consecutive victories since the games resumed, following a week-plus break and seem determined to meet their goals.
Brunswick’s fifth straight win came Thursday against visiting FAA foe Hamden Hall Country Day School. Sophomore guard Ethan Long scored a team-high 19 points, while senior backcourt mate Malik Samms added 15 points for the Bruins in their 71-54 triumph over the Hornets.
The host Bruins (9-4) entered halftime with a 33-27 lead, then gained separation in the second half by getting out in transition and upping their intensity on defense.
“Hamden Hall is very well coached and they came out and executed their game plan of running the floor,” Brunswick coach Steve Juricek said. “The second half, we came out and we did a better job of getting back on defense. In the second half, we did a better job of getting out in transition. We have to make sure we do that a little more often.”
Wyatt Triestman, a senior 6-foot-7 forward posted 12 points for Brunswick, which received scoring from 10 players. Samms, Triestman and senior 6-foot-10 center Jon Sigurdson are the Bruins’ captains.
The home team quickly gathered momentum in the second half, building a double digit lead.
“We struggled in the first half, but Ethan and I knew we had to pick it up in the second half in order to blow this team out,” Samms said. “We knew we were much better than how we played in the first half. Going into the locker room at halftime, we knew we weren’t satisfied and we were hungry and wanted to win by as much as possible.”
Freshman point guard Jack Stevens tallied eight points, including two 3-pointers, while sophomore guard Will Graves totaled seven points in the winning effort.
A layup by Long, a putback by Triestman, and two baskets off steals from Samms gave the Bruins a 17-8 advantage, prompting a Hornets timeout a little more than five minutes into the first half.
Long swished a 3-pointer from the right corner, Graves banked in a shot from the low post and Triestman made a foul line jumper, putting ‘Wick on top, 26-17 later in the opening half.
Brunswick pushed its lead to 31-20 on a basket by Long, but Hamden Hall went on a 7-0 run to close to within 31-27 with 1:30 to go in the first half.
Guard Alex Prezioso had 11 points, while Ethan Bessani scored eight points for the Hornets, who played mostly man-to-man defense.
“We ended the first half poorly, we weren’t satisfied with how we played and we needed to regroup and gain our energy back,” said the 6-foot-2 Long. “In the second half, we knew what we needed to do and we did it.”
Long’s dunk off a fastbreak and senior forward Luke Michalik’s banker in the lane increased the Bruins’ lead to 43-30 early in the second half. Using his size and strength to back down a Hamden Hall defender, Triestman drew fouls and created points in the post during the second half.
“I was trying to take them down low,” Triestman said. “They’re a smaller team, so we were trying to use our size against them.”
Said Juricek: “Wyatt is a special player. He’s big, strong, he can put the ball on the deck. He’s averaging 37 percent from 3-point range this year and he’s great inside and has good footwork. He’s kind of the utility guy – he can do it all.”
Three pointers by Stevens made it 47-30 and 54-38 in favor of the Bruins midway through the second half. Michalik, junior forward Lee Huffard, sophomore forward Armez Dowe, senior center Matty Augustine and senior forward Payton Anderson added two points apiece for the victors, who played an effective man-to-man defense. Forward Mason Gorham had eight points for the Hornets.
Long noted that the team’s current win streak stems from how they’ve been practicing.
“At practice, we are competitive when we play against each other every day,” he said. “We’re definitely looking forward to the rest of the season. We’re on a winning streak, we’re playing as one and everything is going great right now. We’re having fun.”
Prior to beating Hamden Hall yesterday, the Bruins defeated Suffield Academy, Salisbury School, St. Luke’s School and Hopkins School for a five-game winning streak. Triestman had 21 points in the Bruins’ 47-41 road victory against Salisbury School.
The Bruins hit the court again at home on Wednesday with a home matchup against NEPSAC foe Loomis Chaffee School at Dann Gymnasium. Brunswick’s next game is tomorrow against Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., at 1 p.m.
“We have Loomis Chaffee next week that’s going to be a tough one, they’re a NEPSAC Class A opponent and we have that marked on our calendar,” Triestman said.
Indeed, the Bruins have high expectations for themselves.
“This year, me Malik and John, the three captains – said that we want to win FAAs this year and qualify for the NEPSAC Tournament for the first time in over 20 years for the school, so that’s a really big deal for us,” Triestman said. “We’ve been striving to do that as best as we can.”
Like his fellow captains, Samms enjoys his role as one of the captains.
“This is my third year on the team and we’ve had great leaders,” Samms said. “Throughout the years, it’s been great seeing leaders and seniors above me, lead this team. Each year, we’ve been closer and closer to our goal of winning the FAA championship and we’re ready to do it this year. If we’re playing our best, I don’t think any team can run with us. So, playing within ourselves, playing as a team, working hard, trusting each other – at the end of the day those things are important for us. If we trust the process, I think everything will go well.”
Categories: Brunswick School, Winter sports
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