Brooke stops JM

WELLSBURG – It’s unclear whether or not the concession stand at the Brooke Wellness Center would offer free tacos if the Bruins boys basketball team reached the 100-point mark.

The tradition at NBA games nearly became a new ritual in Wellsburg on Friday night as Brooke rallied for a 95-47 romp over John Marshall.

The output was its highest of the season, but in Thomas Cole’s eyes it was just his team’s eighth win.

“I’m just glad we got the W,” the Bruins’ 6-foot-5 center said. “My last few games weren’t the best for me. This was a bounce-back game and I had to get some confidence.”

Cole led all scorers with 23 points, while grabbing 11 of Brooke’s 42 rebounds. He also had two steals, a block and an assist.

“Cole’s a man and we’re kids,” said John Marshall coach Bill Storm. “He’s a good player.”

Though quickly down by double digits after four minutes in the first quarter, the Monarchs (3-9) reached the free throw bonus at the 2:17 mark. Russell Schwertfeger, Brooke’s point guard, committed two early fouls and sat out until the midway point of the second.

“With Schwertfeger out, you think that we have a shot,” Storm said. “Then Cole just took over the game. We just did nothing, they just play hard. As a team we didn’t play hard.”

The Bruins (8-5) led 23-9 after the first quarter and were ahead 40-15 at the 3:33 mark of the second when Nick Destefano stole and errant pass and converted a lay up.

Destefano finished with 17 points, while Nathan Green added six points, four rebounds and two blocks. Off the bench, Anthony Barnhart scored 12 points and Ethan Sole dropped 10.

Schwertfeger ended with six points – all free throws – three steals and four assists.

“Our big guys did a nice job inside trying to make a presence and getting to the basket, because our guards are doing a good job of getting them the ball when they’re open,” Brooke coach Dave Reitter said. “That helps a lot.”

John Marshall starter Alex Wharton fouled out at the 5:48 mark of the third quarter with three points. Meanwhile, the Bruins were more disciplined not committing a foul until the 1:02 mark of the quarter.

The Bruins outscored the Monarchs, 21-4, in the the third.

“We played a good team game,” Cole said. “It was probably our best game we’ve played together all season.”

In all, 11 players scored for Brooke as the bench was emptied throughout the fourth quarter.

“They’re going to be on the team next year,” Cole said. “It’s good they got some experience and put some points up to help the cause and their confidence.”

Tanner Filben led the Monarchs with 17 points, while Kip Foster-Smith added six. They play at Steubenville tonight.

“It doesn’t get any easier at all,’ Storm said.

The tough stretch continues next week for John Marshall with East Liverpool, Wheeling Central and Union Local all on the docket.

The Bruins host Wheeling Park on Tuesday.

“It’s a fact that you have to play every game the way it is,” Reitter said. “Park is a big game for us because it’s the game we play on Tuesday.”