By Ed Farrell
Herald Assistant Sports Editor
It was a typical season-opener: Too many turnovers, some questionable shot selection, and careless personal fouls. But for Brookfield High boys’ bench boss Bill Kovach, “ ... always happy with a win.”
The Warriors were 7-for-10 from the free-throw line during the 4th frame, and held off Pymatuning Valley, 59-48, Tuesday night.
PV had opened its season with a recent 43-38 win over Conneaut (Ohio), while the Warriors were postponed from last Saturday’s originally-scheduled date wth Grand Valley.
In spite of a handful of 3rd-quarter turnovers, however, it was a wire-to-wire Warriors’ win: 10-5 at the quarter, 25-14 by the break, and 38-34 through 3 periods.
The visiting Lakers launched an ill-fated comeback bid in the 4th.
Cory Mercer mustered a trey with 3:12 remaining, then followed with a loose-ball put-back approximately 33 ticks later as PV closed within 48-46 with 2:39 left.
But Derrick Dickson drained 2 freebies with 53.3 seconds left and Brian Hiner hit another pair with 36.7 ticks to play.
Brookfield’s balanced scoring was led by Seth Wallace and Caleb Hunkus, who evenly split 20 points, while Dickson divided another 16 with Jamar Tarver. Hunkus’ 11 field-goal attempts were a team-high, with another trio of starters divying up 24 shots as Brookfield finished 23 for 53 from the floor (43.3 percent).
The Warriors were guilty of 14 turnovers, but coerced Py Valley into 19 miscues — 15 during the 1st half — and 13-for-43 (30.2 percent) shooting from the field.
The Lakers (1-1) were led by 6-foot-3 senior swing-guard Quintin Ratliff, who rifled in a game-high 21 points — 13 after intermission — including 10-for-14 free-throw marksmanship, leading the Lakers’ 17-for-28 (60.7) effort.
“I think defensively, we did a good job on Ratliff,” Kovach contended. “I watched him the other night, and he had twenty-eight points. But he took a lot of shots for those twenty-one he had (against Brookfield). We worked a lot in practice the last few days on helping on him, ‘shading’ on him. He’s a really good player.
“We always have to find a few things that we can improve on, and we have a ton of them on offense — we know that, the kids know that,” Kovach commented. “Our defense was pretty sound for a first game.
“We’ve got some work (on defense), too, but offensively we really, at times, struggled to know what a good shot was and know what the time on the clock was,” Kovach continued.
Nate Johnson joined in for Brookfield, scoring 7 of his 9 points during the 2nd half, while Davon Sims scored 7 first-half points. Wallace was the game’s leading rebounder with 8, 1 more than Lakers Ratliff and Travis Kiser.
Chase Thurber threw in a trio of treys during the 3rd period and ended with 11 Lakers’ points.
But Brookfield now has baseline established from which to work.
“You can tell a kid, but until they actually see themselves on film, then it makes sense to them. We’ll do that in the next day or two, then be ready for John F. Kennedy,” Kovach concluded.
Note: The game with Grand Valley will be made up Dec. 14, Kovach said.
Coach Shawn Hammond’s Brookfield High Lady Warriors moved to 2-1 on the young basketball season Monday night with a 32-30 home victory over Lords-town (0-2).
Autumn (15 points, 5 rebounds) and Ashley Kirila (11 points, 4 rebounds) set the pace for the home team. Brooke Hiner had 4 assists.
PY VALLEY 1 9 20 14 48
BROOKFIELD 10 15 13 31 59
PY VALLEY — Ratliff 5-10-14-21, Thurber 3-2-2-11, Baker 0-0-0-0, Kiser 2-2-4-6, Bell 0-1-2-1, Mercer 2-0-0-5, Blascak 1-2-4-4, Hunt 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Thurber 3, Ratliff 1, Mercer 1. Totals: 13-17-28-48.
BROOKFIELD — Dickson 3-2-5-8, Hunkus 5-0-0-10, Wallace 4-2-2-10, Tarver 4-0-0-8, Sims 2-2-2-7, Johnson 3-3-4-9, Kraml 1-0-0-2, Hiner 1-3-4-5, Davis 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goal: Sims 1. Totals: 23-12-17-59.
JV — Brookfield, 40-28. Kasey Tingler 23 points, Jake Jackson 8 for Brookfield.
LORDSTOWN 8 12 10 0 30
BROOKFIELD 10 3 12 7 32
LORDSTOWN — Likwar 1-0-0-2; Liming 4-0-0-9; Bennett 1-3-4-5; Smith 0-0-0-0; Tobin 2-5-9-9; Hajnosz 0-5-6-5. 3-pt. goals: Liming 1. Totals: 8-13-19-30.
BROOKFIELD — Hawley 0-2-4-2; Aut. Kirila 6-3-3-5-15; Quinlan 0-0-0-0; DiCristofaro 0-0-0-0; Ash. Kirila 4-3-3-11; Saxton 1-0-0-2; Gauding 0-0-0-0; Hiner 0-2-2-2. Totals: 11-10-14-32.
JV — Brookfield won (no score reported).