Girls Basketball: Senior Brzezinski scores 25 to help Brainerd get a CLC win over Tech
Brainerd Warriors hosts St. Cloud Tech Friday, Feb. 26.
Ally Brzezinski owned senior night.
The 5-foot-10 guard led all scorers with 25 points, including 12-for-17 at the free throw line, as the Brainerd Warriors got a 79-54 Central Lakes Conference win over St. Cloud Tech Friday, Feb. 26.
Brzezinski grabbed eight rebounds and tallied four deflections on the top of Brainerd’s 1-3-1 zone.
“Ally didn’t just have a great night; she's had a great season,” Warriors head coach Troy Nelson said. “She’s been one of our leaders and done a great job defensively. That’s what she’s done her whole career and this year we’ve seen it on the offensive end to provide that spark.”
It was Brzezinski who ignited a 10-0 second-half run that put the Warriors in front 69-48.
“It helps everyone out,” Brzezinski said of the second-half run. “Once someone gets going they start focusing on you and it opens up everyone else.”
Fellow senior Hillary Hoelz tallied four points and senior Clara Meyer came in at the end, but missed her three shot attempts.
“I talked to the three of them in our team meeting before the season and talked about how we didn’t know what the season was going to look like, but we were going to do everything we could to make it the best experience for them,” Troy Nelson said. “Those three came every day with a smile on their face and they are great kids who work hard and their teammates love them.”
Brzezinski felt a little sad after senior night, but said she used it as motivation to have a good game.
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“My teammates were moving the ball a lot and we were getting good shots for each other,” Brzezinski said. “It could happen to anyone any day.”
Brainerd forced Tech into 16 turnovers and Brzezinski looked more like a soccer goalie on top of the Warriors’ 1-3-1 than a basketball player with the number of deflections she collected — even using her legs.
“Just anyway you can get the ball back,” she said. “I play up there a lot, so I kind of know where the ball is going when it goes there. It’s almost instinct at his point. I stick my leg out and the ball just hits it.”
Myah Nelson drained three 3-pointers in the second half and made all six of her free throws in the first half to pitch in 17 points.
Troy Nelson liked to see his two best scorers, Brzezinski and Myah Nelson, step up again.
“They were really aggressive tonight,” Troy Nelson said. “They took the driving lanes and we ran some things to get the ball inside to Ally. I thought they did a good job and took what the defense gave. They also took some contact and got to the free throw line as well.”
As a team, the Warriors shot 50% from behind the arc making 10 total.
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Brainerd started the second half on a 16-4 run highlighted by transition layups by Meghan Smith and Myah Nelson.
The Warriors led 23-10 in the first half before Tech rallied to cut the lead to 27-26. Brainerd ended the half on a 10-2 run before three free throws by Tech gave Brainerd a 37-31 lead at half.
Brainerd turned the ball over 13 times and gave up nine offensive rebounds to the Tigers. Troy Nelson wasn’t happy with his team’s energy in the first half.
“Credit to Tech they came out hard to start,” Troy Nelson said. “We didn’t play with much energy in the first half and we seemed like we thought it was going to be easy. It wasn’t easy that first half and we talked at halftime how we needed to do what we do and play with energy.”
Brained is now winners of four of its last five games. With five games remaining and four of them on the road, Troy Nelson hopes his team can start playing its best come playoff time.
“We got a tough game coming up at Bemidji,” Troy Nelson said. “We need to be ready for a tough game and then take it one game at a time and hope we get to play every game on the schedule, so we get to the section tournament ready to go.”
St. Cloud Tech 31 23 — 54
Brainerd 37 42 — 79
ST. CLOUD TECH
Sarah Harris 8, Jayna Benson 14, Emma Borchert 2, Emma Imdieke 12, Alexis Finkin 2, Mattie Vought 2, Halilie Christiansen 12, Mia Ambrose 2. FG 19-54 (35%), FT 13-19 (68%). 3-point 3-15 (20%).
Hillary Hoelz 4, Kate Stadum 6, Emma Sheflo 4, Myah Nelson 17, Meghan Smith 9, Ally Brzezinski 25, Iyana Pickar 2, Emma Tautges 6, Kylie Johnson 6. FG 25-49 (51%), FT 19-25 (75%). 3-point 10-20 (50%).
Warriors 79, Tech 54
Key: Warriors shot 50% from 3-point to thwart Tigers
Conference: Brd 7-4, SCT 2-11
Overall: Brd 9-4, SCT 2-10
Next: Brainerd at Bemidji 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 2.
CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.