Glynn Academy got out into transition early and often in the second half and ran Brunswick out of its gym 57-35 in Round 1 of the girls’ City Championship on Friday.
The Red Terrors (15-2, 3-0 Region 2-6A) used their size and length to effectively seal off the paint and they sprinted the floor off stops to get easy baskets to turn a five-point halftime lead into a 16-point advantage early in the fourth quarter en route to just their fifth victory against the Pirates in the last 17 tries.
“We were very disciplined defensively,” said Glynn head girls coach Sharnesha Smith. “On both ends actually, but defensively, we locked in on their key kids, made some people try to force some shots, and then with our bigs, we just tell them to keep their hands up and be disciplined.
“It worked in our favor where they were just running into us and we got our hands on a couple blocks… When we play that way, good things happen.”
Zoesha Smith scored 18 of her game-high 24 points in the second half for Glynn, including 10 of the team’s 16 points in the third quarter — single-handedly outscoring Brunswick in the period.
It was the Terrors work in transition that allowed them to pull away at the beginning of the third quarter with an 8-0 run, all four baskets coming on the fast break.
“We wanted to get up and down early,” Smith said. “We didn’t want to change anything. If we could get easy baskets, easy layups, that’s what we want to do — push the ball up and try to score quick.”
The Pirates (6-8, 1-1) had planned to throw bodies at their opponent in the interior and attempt to push the pace off turnovers, and the strategy looked good as Brunswick clawed its way back into the game in the second quarter.
A three-point play by Nyree Moody snapped a 14-2 Red Terror run, and four minutes later, Marquesia Heidt slithered through traffic and sank a layup that drew the team to within two points.
But Brunswick was unable to take the lead before Glynn embarked on another 13-2 run into the third quarter following Heidt’s basket.
“Mentally we had some pieces to our puzzle that weren’t locked in completely and that makes a difference” said Pirates head girls coach Maria Mangram. “When you don’t have everyone locked in, it’s kind of hard to maneuver.
“They took us out of our normalcy.”
Brunswick won the battle on the glass 28-23 and forced Glynn to work for its offense much of the first half, but it wasn’t able to cash in on its own scoring opportunities often enough to seriously threaten.
“We had opportunities,” Mangram said. “We got the rebounds and then we missed 30 layups. We had 20-something turnovers. We missed 11 free throws.
“If you do all of that, or at least chip away at it and get bits and pieces from it, for us, it would have made it easier, but we were shooting ourselves in the foot.”
The Terrors also suffered through some offensive lulls early on as the Pirates packed the paint and played physical defense, but Chmayia Miller busted Brunswick’s game plan with a flurry of jumpers.
One of the few Glynn players with consistent touch from outside the restricted area, Miller opened up lanes for her teammates by knocking down a few big shots from the baseline, finishing with 14 points.
“That’s our 15-foot guru,” Smith said. “She’s going to hit the short corner shot, she’s going to pull up when she gets the chance. She’s got a beautiful shot, probably the best on the team, so if we can get her open, get some inside-out touches, that’s what we want to do, and that’s what our offense creates.”
The Terrors earned bragging rights, and the inside track to first place in the region at Brunswick Square Garden, and Smith believes it’s a sign of things to come from a growing Glynn program.
“It’s a new year, it’s a new mentality,” Smith said. “We’ve got a different program. We’re building and that shows…
“Our record speaks for itself, to be honest with you.”
The Pirates won’t hang their heads though. It’s back to the drawing board for Brunswick less than three weeks from Round 2 of the City Championship on Jan. 25.
“We can’t keep dwelling on it,” Mangram said. “Yeah, it’s a rivalry game and you want to win it, but we ought to see them again and probably again…
“They played really well tonight and we didn’t play so well.”