AKRON — The Brunswick boys basketball team knows what it has in shooting guard Kyle Goessler and center Zak Zografos, but the Blue Devils learned some positives about small forward Xavier Diaz and reserve Danny Dakdouk while beating Firestone 65-49 Tuesday in non-league action.
Returning starters Goessler (19 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) and Zografos (14, 10, 2) had their customary solid games as Brunswick improved to 2-0 heading into its Greater Cleveland Conference opener Friday at Shaker Heights, but the work of Diaz and Dakdouk stood out against the Falcons (0-3).
Both players had 11 points and three boards, with Diaz adding two assists and Dakdouk passing for one. In Brunswick’s season opener against Highland, Diaz had one point and Dakdouk had three.
“It makes us really good as a team,” Diaz said of the offensive production he and Dakdouk supplied. “Danny gives us a sparkplug off the bench. When he’s able to hit shots, we’re hard to beat.”
Diaz, a 5-foot-11 senior who basically functions as a third guard in Brunswick’s drive-and-kick offense, was 5-for-7 from the field and 1-for-2 on 3-pointers, while 6-0 senior Dakdouk also went 5-for-7 while hitting his only attempt from behind the arc.
“It helps us a lot to get the offense going when we can come in and make shots,” Dakdouk said. “It takes a little off (Goessler and Zografos’) shoulders.”
The game was basically over after the first quarter, as the Blue Devils made their first four 3-point attempts — three by Goessler — in jumping to a 19-3 lead over Firestone, which went 1-for-15 from the field in the opening period.
By halftime, Brunswick led 39-17 as the Falcons, who didn’t get their first assist until the 45.7-second mark of the second period, were 6-for-31 from the floor and 5-for-11 at the line.
“We started off rebounding pretty well, and off rebounds we leaked out and got easy layups,” Diaz said. “And we hit some threes, which helped as well.”
For the game, Brunswick outscored Firestone 24-3 from behind the arc — the Blue Devils attempted 22 threes and the Falcons took 10 — but the second half was a struggle.
Firestone’s Justice Lane had 12 of his 15 teams in the third period as the Falcons got as close as 14 on two occasions, but Dakdouk made two hoops in transition over the final 59 seconds as Brunswick took a 52-36 lead into the fourth.
“We let up a little bit when we had a nice lead,” Dakdouk said. “Once we play better teams, we’ve got to keep the engine going. We can’t let up just because we get a 20-point lead.”
Firestone, which got 10 points and six boards from Perrion Johnson and seven points and 10 rebounds from Marcus Lee, made it a 52-40 game with 6:09 left, but Goessler hit his fourth 3-pointer with 5:39 remaining and the Blue Devils later got three straight hoops from the 6-6 Zografos, the last two coming off passes from Nick Felician (4 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists).
The Falcons, whose first-half offense consisted of badly missing a shot and crashing the boards, did a better job getting to the hoop after intermission, but they still finished 17-for-62 from the floor (.365) against a mix of man-to-man and zone defense.
“It’s better to learn a lesson after a win,” Brunswick coach Joe Mackey said of his team’s lethargic second half. “We just let off the gas.”
Ryan Utrup had 24 points as Brunswick won the junior varsity game 56-44.
Brunswick 65, Firestone 49
BRUNSWICK 19 20 13 13 — 65
FIRESTONE 3 14 19 13 — 52
Brunswick — Xavier Diaz 5-0-11, Alex Wyatt 0-3-3, Zak Zografos 6-1-14, Kyle Goessler 6-3-19, Nick Felician 2-0-4, Trevor Mackey 0-0-0, Danny Dakdouk 5-0-11, Jeff Buttitta 1-0-3, Max Ferrell 0-0-0, Jason Becka 0-0-0, Walter Rivera 0-0-0. TOTALS: 25-7-65.
Firestone — Justin Moore 4-0-8, LaFette Johnson 2-0-4, Darshun Williams 0-0-0, Taylor Mack 0-2-2, Perrion Johnson 3-4-10, Marcus Lee 2-3-7, Sean Edwards 0-1-1, J’Vionne Ingol 0-0-0, Justice Lane 6-2-15, Mitchell Riggins 0-0-0, Allen Gordon 0-0-0, Zak Bradley 0-2-2, Juan Jackson 0-0-0. TOTALS: 17-14-49.
3-point goals — Goessler 4, Zografos, Buttitta, Dakdouk, Diaz, Lane. Rebounds — Brunswick 30 (Zografos 10), Firestone 38 (Lee 10). Assists — Brunswick 17 (Felician 8), Firestone 4 (L. Johnson, Williams, Lee, Moore). Records — Brunswick (2-0), Firestone (0-3). Junior varsity — Brunswick 56, Firestone 44.