The Brunswick High girls’ basketball team took an early lead over York, then relied on defense Wednesday to advance to the Class A South final for the first time since 2010.

Madeline Suhr had 19 points, six rebounds and three steals to lead the second-seeded Dragons to a 43-35 victory at Cross Insurance Arena.

Brunswick (17-3) will play top-seeded Greely in the final at 6 p.m. Saturday at CIA.

“Defensively, we really tried to clog up what they do,” said Brunswick Coach Sam Farrell. “I feel like we got them out of their flow.”

Maddie Cogger led the third-seeded Wildcats (13-7) with 12 points.

Brunswick benefited from a height advantage and outrebounded the Wildcats 30-26 – 22-16 on the defensive boards – and blocked eight shots. Suhr had four blocks.

“We just used our length. They were trying to go inside, which is our strength,” Farrell said. “We contested everything.”

After Sabrina Armstrong opened the game with two baskets for Brunswick, Reilly Smedley and Nina Howe answered to make it 4-4. Suhr came back with a layup and a 3-pointer to put the Dragons ahead by five, and they never relinquished the lead.

Brunswick ended the first quarter up 11-8. Aidan Sachs and Suhr each scored four points in the second quarter to keep the Dragons ahead, but Cogger’s 3-pointer at the buzzer cut Brunswick’s lead to 21-19 at halftime.

“That girl is a heck of a player. She hits a good shot – that’s what she does,” Farrell said of Cogger. “We should have picked her up sooner.”

Suhr said the Dragons weren’t rattled by the close halftime score.

“We had a good mentality,” Suhr said. “We knew they had a couple shooters and we just shut them down. That’s pretty much it.”

Brunswick outscored York 10-5 in the third quarter, then held the Wildcats scoreless for the first five minutes of the fourth.

York lost Howe – a freshman guard and one of the Wildcats’ top scorers – to an injury in the first minute of the final quarter. She was carried to the bench, where she remained for the rest of the game, icing her right knee.

“I believe she was going in for the layup, and she sort of twisted sideways and fell on it,” Smedley said. “She grabbed it right away.”

Smedley said Howe’s injury left the team “a little shaken up.

“Nina is definitely a huge part of our offense, and she’s usually in all 32 minutes of the game,” Smedley said. “That was definitely a loss, but other girls stepped up.”

York put up 11 points in the final three minutes – six on Delaney LaBonte 3-pointers. LaBonte, Smedley and Howe all finished with six points for the Wildcats. For the Dragons, Sachs scored 11 points and Armstrong had six.

Brunswick has never won a state title, but Farrell said this team is special.

“They’re just a tight-knit group – probably the most coachable group I’ve had,” Farrell said.

“They don’t react emotionally, they just react mentally as basketball players.”

Taylor Vortherms can be contacted at 791-6417 or:

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