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Early Run Boosts Bruins

Brooke has little trouble in topping John Marshall

January 28, 2012
By NICK BEDWAY , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WELLSBURG - Repeating an earlier victory against John Marshall, the Brooke boys' basketball team went on a 17-0 run early the first quarter and never looked back in doubling the score on the Monarchs, 68-34, on Friday night

On fire from behind the 3-point line, the Bruins bombed in six of their nine 3-pointers in the opening half and their pressure defense forced the Monarchs into 14 turnovers while breaking out to a 39-17 lead.

The victory also was the fifth against seven defeats for Coach Dave Reitter's improving club while John Marshall's record dipped to 3-10.

''Our kids did a nice job of executing what we wanted them to do," Reitter said. ''The pressure allowed us to get some easy shots and when John Marshall sagged back to close off our cutters, we were able to kick it back outside for the open 3s. When you hit shots like that early in the game, it gives you a lot of confidence."

Eric Johnson buried four 3-pointers on his way to scoring 20 points, while Nick Breen added a pair of trifectas as he accounted for all 17 of his game total in the opening half. Brooke was 6 of 14 from behind the arc first two quarters and the Bruins' eight 3-pointers by the end of the third period matched the 24 points scored by the Monarchs at the time.

Disappointment didn't begin to describe the feelings of John Marshall coach Bill Storm, and he spent almost 15 minutes talking to his players with the door closed after the game.

''Brooke shot the ball well and played hard. We didn't," Storm said. ''We weren't ready to play and that is why I was in there so long. As a team, we have to decide what were are going to do. Are we going to pack it in or get focused and see what can do the rest of the season?"

Because of all the turnovers, John Marshall got off only 37 shots in the entire game and hit only 13. The Monarchs also missed six of their first seven free throws and made just 5 of 12 overall.

The visitors did manage to take a 6-3 lead early as senior forward Aaron Fonner drove the baseline twice to net a couple of shots and Justin Wade put one off the glass.

Fonner's second goal, however, would be the last points the Monarchs scored until the closing seconds of the quarter when Tyler Brautigan got loose inside.

Johnson launched Brooke's 17-point run with a 3-pointer from the left corner to tie it up at 6-6, and following a Monarchs turnover, Breen flashed into the lane and nailed a 15-foot jumper.

Breen, who had 10 points in the Bruins spurt, then drained a 3-pointer and sophomore Russell Schwertfeger swished a short shot for a 13-6 lead. The Monarchs then missed four straight free throws that were wrapped around a Breen steal and layup. Vinny Pizzuti connected on a 3-pointer and Breen turned in another steal and coast-to-coast drive for a layin and the 20-6 lead, forcing Storm to use his second timeout of the quarter with just 37 seconds on the clock.

Back-to-back 3-pointers from Johnson and Breen 3 minutes into the second quarter started another 11-0 explosion by the Bruins, expanding the lead to 33-10. It was 39-17 at halftime and 59-24 at the end of the third quarter, which saw Johnson drop in 10 points.

''I'm very pleased with how hard our kids played," Reitter added. ''I honestly think we've played hard all year and the kids are finally getting a little taste of success.

''Eric Johnson and Nicky Breen shot the ball well. I thought our guards did a nice job of directing traffic on offense. Hunter Wallace didn't score a lot of points (4) but he kept our momentum going with his hustle, steals and getting the ball out to other people.

''(Ryan) Heaton hits a couple of nice shots out of the corners and Austin Schambach also gave us some scoring help."

Schambach finished with nine points, including five during mop-up time in the fourth quarter.

John Marshall had just four players enter the scoring column, led by Fonner and Wade with 13 points each. Tyler Crow came off the Monarchs bench and cashed a pair of 3-pointers to finish with six points.

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