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Quinn Barnett gets defensive, helps Brunswick defeat GlenOak in OHSAA Division I regional semifinal

Brunswick defeated GlenOak to advance to the Division I regional final

KENT, Ohio - Brunswick guard Quinn Barnett rolled his right ankle three minutes into a Division I regional semifinal against GlenOak on Tuesday night at Kent State University. And then two possessions later, he rolled his left ankle.

"I don't know what it was," Barnett said about rolling his ankles. "I guess I stepped on it wrong but I didn't let it affect me." 

The senior reached down, tightened his Nike Kyrie Irvings, and then played even tighter defense on GlenOak leading scorer Ja'Corey Lipkins, holding his counterpart to just four first half points and 10 points overall in a 53-46 Brunswick victory.

"I knew I couldn't let him get going because he is their best player,"  Barnett said. "Watching film on him, he is outstanding, he does everything. My whole mindset was finding him after a bucket. I can't let him get loose, I can't let him get easy ones."

Helping keep Lipkins in check in the first half was important, as the Brunswick offense was also struggling. A team who averages more than 70 points per game and had hit more than 230 3-pointers coming into the game, the Blue Devils didn't hit from deep in the first half and scored just 20 in the first 16 minutes.

But because of their defense, they went to the locker room trailing by just one at 21-20 after ending the second quarter on a 7-2 run.

"I thought the key to the game was that it was 21-20 at half," Brunswick head coach Joe Mackey said. "We had zero threes, we normally make about 10 threes a game and we didn't make any and we were down one point."

And then in the second half, Trey Drexler scored the first Brunswick points of the third quarter on a 3-pointer.

"That's how you get confidence, you see the ball go through," Mackey said. 

The confidence picked up for the Blue Devils, as they scored 16 points in the third quarter and 17 in the fourth, while also knocking down four 3-pointers, three of them by Drexler, including one in the fourth quarter that would have been deep even in the NBA. He led all scorers with 19 points.

"I think we got some good looks in the first half and we knew they were going to fall because that's how we play," Drexler said. "But when we are not hitting shots, it is about how can we find a way to win and that's what we did in the first half."

Brunswick's Quinn Barnett defends Ja'Corey Lipkins of GlenOak in a regional semifinal game on March 12,2024. Brunswick won 53-46 and Barnett held Lipkins to 10 points under his average.

Brunswick's Quinn Barnett defends Ja'Corey Lipkins of GlenOak in a regional semifinal game on March 12,2024. Brunswick won 53-46 and Barnett held Lipkins to 10 points under his average.

And when it came right down to it, the Blue Devils won because they were able to get defensive stops. That included their best player sacrificing his numbers on offense to make sure the other team's best player couldn't get going.

"Arguably our best player (Barnett) was guarding their best player (Lipkins)," Mackey said. "People don't talk about that enough. He accepted the challenge. I am sure that affected the way he shot it and he played offensively because of how tired he was chasing (Lipkins) around."

Barnett had seven of his 15 points in the fourth quarter and didn't mind giving up the offensive numbers, scoring just two points in the first quarter, four in the second and two in the third.

"I knew I had to sacrifice my offense to win," Barnett said. "It's not about myself. Sometimes you have to play defense and win it for your team."

Mackey knew that a win meant a trip to the regional final against either St. Ignatius or Massillon Jackson, while a loss meant the end of the season for the Blue Devils and the end of the high school careers for his seniors, including Barnett.

So when Barnett stepped up and wanted the challenge of guarding Lipkins, who averages 20 points per game, the head coach didn't bat an eye. 

"He has been our best on-ball defender," Mackey said. "We are in a win or go home situation so we were going to put our best on (Lipkins)."  

-- Ryan Isley | | @sbliveoh