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Second-half Runs Turn Brookfield, Hamilton Basketball Monday Clashes into Split

Host Bulldogs finish on 22-11 push to prevail 55-46 after visiting Lady Hornets score 19-straight points to win 46-28

By PAUL STURM, LCL Sports Editor

By PAUL STURM, LCL Sports Editor

As the clock shows the third period is nearing its end, Brookfield High School Bulldogs senior Beau Kunkel launches a 3-points shot that found its mark, giving the host ’Dogs their first lead of Monday's (Dec. 14) 2020-21 home opener against Hamilton: Penney. Brookfield maintained the new-found advantage throughout the final stanza to gain a 55-46 victory, led by 15 points each from Kunkel and Carsen Beckman.

BROOKFIELD — “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander” goes a folksy, centuries-old saying suggesting balance is a proper aspect of nature and shared existence.

Last Monday night, Brookfield’s and Hamilton’s high school basketball teams took turns serving the sauce to each other.

After Penney High’s visiting Lady Hornets used a single play to fulcrum their tied game against BHS their way via a string of 19 consecutive points, Brookfield’s boys forcefully, if not quite as exclusively, dominated the last 8:10 of their contest to prevail.

The host Bulldogs, after falling behind 8-0 in the first 3-plus minutes of the game, kept doing just enough to stay in contention until the fourth of five Beau Kunkel 3-pointers rippled the nets in the four seconds ahead of the final buzzer of the third period, pushing BHS in front for the first time in their 2020-21 home opener, 36-35.

The Bulldogs then took that lead up to 10 points on a couple of occasions in the last stanza before finally fending off several Hamilton comeback attempts and gaining a 55-46 verdict. From the time when Kunkel let fly his shot just before the third period ended until game’s end, Brookfield (2-3) outscored its guest 22-11.

That effectively was the opposite of the final 11-plus minutes of the preceding girls’ game.

In that one, a 5-points Hamilton (3-3) possession keyed by an intentional foul call converted what had been a close game – and, in fact, had just been tied by Brookfield (1-4) –  into a blowout.

Beginning with her two free throws after absorbing a hard push while attempting to convert a midcourt steal into a go-ahead layup, Penney’s Brighton Swindler netted nine points in succession to ignite a string of 19 PHS markers without interruption. Beginning with the two charity tosses from the intentional foul, Hamilton produced a 26-8 surge the rest of the way to secure a 46-28 triumph.

On the possession resulting from the intentional foul and following her free throws, Swindler nailed a trey from near the top of the key to make it a 5-points trip upcourt. She subsequently drew two more fouls and converted four more free throws without miss to complete a personal 9-0 run and open that much of a lead for the visitors.

Before the third quarter, Penney’s girls had pushed their advantage to 31-0, then put up the first eight points of the last stanza – half of them by Swindler – to finish their stunning stretch of dominance which contrasted with the first 21-plus minutes of the game.

Eventually, Swindler registered 28 points, 19 after halftime. After missing four of her first five foul shots in the game – all prior to the intentional foul, she buried nine of 10 the rest of the way. She was the only Lady Hornet to tally more than seven points.

Brookfield (1-4) was led by seven points apiece by Kaley Smith and Kammy Dixon.

Senior Kaley Smith of the Brookfield High School basketball Lady Bulldogs scores on a short shot in the paint in the final 10 seconds of the first quarter of Monday's (Dec. 14) 2020-21 home opener against Hamilton: Penney. Smith shared team scoring honors with sophomore Kammy Dixon with seven points as the Lady Bulldogs (1-4) battled on even terms past the mid-point of the third quarter before Hamilton roared away to a 46-28 triumph.

The boys’ contest saw Brookfield’s long-range shooting serve as the deciding factor. The Bulldogs hit eight shots beyond the arc to only one for Hamilton, so it was only fitting that Kunkel’s third-period buzzer-beater from beyond the top of the key was the shot which put the ’Dogs ahead.

Hamilton (1-4) received game-long scoring from close range from senior forward Andrew Rich to seize the upper hand early and stay there for nearly three full periods. However, in the end, even with Rich finishing with a game-high 23 points, Brookfield’s bigger gulps when it scored and greater balance and productivity tilted the outcome its way.

While Kunkel was doing all of his scoring with his handful of trifectas, fellow BHS guard Carsen Beckman was getting to the same total with a potpourri of points. He tossed in three treys of his own, but also had a couple of deuces and hit two of three free throws to share the team scoring lead. Almost half of his points – seven – went on the scoreboard in the last period.

Junior post player Bryson Collier of the Brookfield High School Bulldogs rises up to hit a short jumper over Hamilton's Andrew Rich in the first quarter of Monday's (Dec. 14, 2020) game at Brookfield. It was Collier's second-straight BHS bucket after the Bulldogs had fallen behind 8-0 in the first 4-plus minutes of the non-conference game. While it caught up once, Brookfield still trailed late in the third period until a final-seconds 3-pointer by Beau Kunkel opened a 22-11 finishing kick which made the Bulldogs 55-46 victors. Collier finished with 12 points, one of three double-digits BHS scorers.

While that duo was doing extensive damage far from the rim, big Bryson Collier was being effective close to it. Although not coming close to matching Rich’s overall output, Collier did manage to put in six buckets for 12 points, joining Beckman and Kunkel in generating 44 of Brookfield’s 55 points. Adding another seven was Tommy Gunn.

Brookfield was due to complete its pre-Christmas schedule Thursday at home against Milan before participating, for the first time, in the Bishop LeBlond Holiday Tournament at St. Joseph between Christmas and New Year’s.

The bracket for that Dec. 28-30 tournament was released Tuesday. It shows Brookfield's boys meeting North Andrew Monday, Dec. 28, at 2:30 p.m., right after the schools' girls' teams clash at 1 p.m.

In the same half of the boys' bracket with the Bulldogs are Kansas City: St. Michael the Archangel and East Buchanan, while the Lady Bulldogs also are grouped with hosts and Plattsburg.

The BHS boys' semifinal game on Dec. 29 will be either at 11:30 a.m. (consolation side) or 8:30 p.m. (championship side). The girls' will be either at 1 p.m. (consolation) or 7 p.m. (championship).

The tourney's final-round games on Wednesday, Dec. 30, will begin at 10 a.m. with the girls' seventh-place contest and continuing on a 90-minutes schedule from there, alternating girls' games with boys.