First-year Brookfield head coach Carey Davison has his team rolling in the right direction.
Monday night's 63-54 home victory over Harrisburg wasn't as close as the score would lead one to believe. The Bulldogs are now 2-0 in 2020 after defeating Fayette in overtime last week, and 8-3 on the season. Monday was only Brookfield's second home game.
Since the two schools began a home-and-home in the 2010-2011 school year, the Bulldogs were winless. That includes ugly losses in the Macon Tournament both last year and in 2016.
"We sped them up a bit, and we knew their identity was to play physical and aggressive, so we wanted to force them to play into our hands," Davison said.
Harrisburg, a 6-6 team with Monday's loss, was plagued by Davison's aggressive, communicative 3-2 defense.
He estimated that around a quarter of Brookfield's points came in transition.
Brookfield's leading scorer with 19 points, senior forward Jacob Day, thought Monday's win was a product of a team whose players believed in one another.
"We had great pressure defense no matter what lineup was on the floor. We have a bunch of guys who want to go get the ball and make plays for us," Day said. "I don't think we lost any progress at all (since the holiday break), where maybe in years past we had a dropoff."
Monday's win was not sterling, however. The Brookfield offense had trouble once it found itself staggered in half-court sets, and the Bulldogs were forced to stake their claim at the line. Although a half dozen of its attempts came in Harrisburg desperation time, Brookfield attempted 30 free throws.
Day attempted 13 alone, knocking down nine.
Brookfield finished with four other scorers in double figures. Senior guard Nick Jones had 12, and Carsen Beckman, Cooper Cisna, and Bodey Yaeger had 10 apiece.
"We're preaching communication, and that was evident tonight," Davison said. "Our guys are being vocal, and with the way we play defense, we have to do that if we want to hold teams and turn defense into offense. We had a long layover with the break, but we're ready to approach the meat of our schedule and make a run."
Brookfield travels to Marceline on Friday. After next week's Macon Tournament, it enters its conference schedule.