SHEFFIELD — Brookside heated up in the fourth quarter Tuesday against Open Door but not nearly enough to cool off one of the hottest teams around.
Open Door responded to the Cardinals’ fourth-quarter spurt with a dominant three-minute stretch that paid off in a 66-51 win — the Patriots’ 16th in a row.
“We have a lot of confidence in what we can do as a team when we’re focused,” said Trey Brooks, who led the Patriots with
23 points and nine rebounds. “When we’re just playing our game, we’re very tough to beat.”
Down double digits, Brookside (6-12) went on an 11-2 run in the fourth quarter to force an Open Door timeout. The Patriots didn’t flinch, however, as Brooks knocked down a 3-pointer and converted a layup to push their lead to 59-47.
Open Door (16-2) iced it from there, knocking down four of five free throws while holding Brookside to one basket the final two minutes.
“We had a few stretches that I wasn’t happy with but I love the way we responded,” Open Door coach Todd Wright said. “We can compete with any team when we play that way.”
Both teams got off to good starts offensively. Brookside made its first four field goals while Open Door kept it close with a balanced attack.
After trailing for most of the quarter, the Patriots closed on a 10-0 run, highlighted by Brooks’ thunderous one-handed dunk for a 25-18 lead.
“We know we can turn it on when we want to but we have to try and do that all the time,” Brooks said. “We can’t come out lazy or let teams go on some many runs.”
Tyler Horvath scored nine of his 15 points in the first quarter for the Cardinals, while Jacob Cole also came up big, twice scoring baskets to cut Open Door’s lead under 10. Cole had eight of his team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter, including back-to-back layups that pulled the Cardinals within seven.
“We’ll look at the positives from this game and take it from there,” Brookside coach Cory Emerine said. “We have to expand our spurts to be longer than just a few minutes here and there.”
Jared Bublinec had 11 points, seven rebounds and four assists for the Patriots, while Gavin Dobbins chipped in 11 points.
“Our senior leaders try to lead by example by going out there and playing hard and staying hungry,” Bublinec said. “Once we get into our groove we’re a really good team.”
Open Door will play three games in three days, starting Thursday.
“We know if we want to go as far as we think we can that we have to put it all together for 32 minutes,” Wright said. “We have a tough stretch that will tell us a lot.”
Contact Paul Williams at 329-7135 or email@example.com.