The Brookfield boys' basketball team could not get it done in its season opener at home on Monday evening, falling to Putnam County 53-41. Putnam, already having played its season opener against Macon, improves to 1-1.
Putnam County employed full-court pressure from the get go, forcing some poor decisions that led to turnovers for the Bulldogs. Though Brookfield entered a similar three-quarter court scheme shortly thereafter, the 'Dogs were unable to create as many opportunities in transition.
"We're still really working and practicing better guard-play, and guys are coming along," Brookfield coach Jerod Gillman said. "We'll improve on those turnovers. They're working at it, and sometimes it takes that game reality to let you know where you are there. It's a nice little shot of reality for them. If you don't make good, precise passes, they're going to take it."
The game opened slowly, with neither team able to score until the 5:03 mark in the first quarter. When the horn buzzed at the end of the first eight minutes, the Bulldogs already found themselves in a 20-10 hole. Brookfield mustered just six points in the second quarter, and returned to the locker room with a 29-16 deficit.
When the second half rolled around, however, the 'Dogs managed to cut their disadvantage to seven points in just the opening 29 seconds of the half at 29-22.
Gillman said that the name of the game in the opening moments of that third quarter was to get the ball inside and let his big guys bang their way to the cup.
"Coming out of halftime, we wanted to immediately get the ball into the post," Gillman said. "We wanted to get the ball down low, and we felt like we had some physical advantages down there if we could just get the ball in deep. It became difficult on every possession to get the ball there, and that's kind of our crutch."
From thereon, Putnam County was able to harness momentum once again, however. The Midgets jumped back out to a double-digit lead by the end of the third quarter at 39-29, and with three minutes remaining, the Putnam side extended its lead as far as 53-33.
Though the Bulldogs rattled off the final eight points of the ballgame, their efforts proved to be too little, too late.
"We had good pressure up front," Putnam County coach Kyle Fleshman said. "The majority of our points were off of that, but we did a poor job of shooting tonight. Twenty-six percent was what my stat-keeper had. We did a good job of attacking the basket, and got in the double-bonus early on. They beat us on the boards, and they have some size down there."
Wyatt Reed was the only Bulldog in double figures on Monday night, finishing with 10 points. Big man Evan Fay was close behind with eight, and freshman Derek Liebhart had five.
Jacob Day was the only other Brookfield player with four or more points.
"The guys played hard," Gillman said. "They didn't play well, or efficiently, or that type of thing. Our bigs down low kept us in it with some put-backs and things like that, but as we develop kids up through the ranks, the team will improve in terms of our decisions and ball-handling."
Brookfield hosts returning state semifinalist Harrisburg next Monday before traveling to Carrollton the following evening.