The Brunswick boys wasted little time Friday in blasting Glynn Academy 77-46 in the semifinal round of the Region 2-6A Tournament.
The Pirates controlled the action on both ends of the court from the opening tip, racing out to a 12-2 advantage in the first four minutes and pushing the lead to 15 by halftime.
By time the fourth quarter rolled around, Brunswick was up by 26 en route to a wire-to-wire victory.
“I thought our guys were ready to play,” said Brunswick boys head coach Chris Turner. “The last three games, our kids have played well…
“We played well on defense tonight. We wanted to come out and set the tone for on-ball pressure, and we were able to do that. We were able to make some shots early, which opened things up for us.”
A strong defensive effort by the Pirates suffocated the Terrors, who were held to 20 points in the first half. The perimeter defenders forced difficult shots, and Joyful Hawkins cleaned up on the defensive boards while deterring attempts in the paint.
The 6-foot-8 freshman finished with 13 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks in the contest. The Pirates swatted away nine total shots on the evening.
With the defense locked in, Brunswick’s offense feasted in transition with Sheydan Baggs and Sharrod Ross breaking down Glynn off the dribble and dishing to open shooters. Baggs finished with 16 points, and Torrey Dickens had a game-high 17 as the two combined to knock down five of seven triples made by the Pirates.
The Terrors had entered the region tournament with a bit of momentum built behind a gritty defense, but they never made the Pirates uncomfortable Wednesday, and they didn’t have the offensive firepower to keep up with Willie Murray as the only player to score in double figures with 13 points.
Now, it’s Brunswick that’s building momentum at the right time with three straight wins coming off a four-game losing streak.
“Obviously this is the most important time of the year,” Turner said. “We just want our kids to come together and play as one…
“Our bench was into it. It was a total team effort. I was proud of the guys.”
The Pirates’ big win also had the ancillary benefit of providing senior guard Kelan Walker with some low-stress minutes as he works his way back on the court after a hand injury.
Both teams pulled their starters with about three minutes remaining, giving Walker some precious minutes after missing most of the season. He finished with seven points in his return to the court.
“I thought he looked good,” Turner said. “It didn’t look like his hand was in a cast for eight weeks, which is how long it’s been.
“But he’s been so hungry and humble to get back. It was good to see it, because you could see him, game to game, it just killed him not to be out there. Obviously, with him healthy, we’re a better basketball team.”
The Pirates, now 15-10 on the season, are 8-0 in games Walker has played in this season, and just 7-10 in the games he’s missed.
Next up for Brunswick is the region tournament’s championship game Friday at 8 p.m. against the Richmond Hill.
The program’s split the regular-season series in two games decided by a total of three points.
Glynn Academy will face Bradwell Institute in the consolation game at 5 p.m.