Brentwood Basketball Meets Hawaii
Winter break is one of the most glorious times of the year, especially at Brentwood. Students have the chance to be with their families, celebrate various seasonal festivities, and unwind before another term of hard work at school. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how one looks at it) the Brentwood Senior Boys Basketball team had their family time cut short to venture to Honolulu, Hawaii for a training camp to prepare for the competitive months ahead.
Whilst in Hawaii, the team played in five games, four coming within the first three days of their arrival, a test of the team’s physical and mental strength. The first game was against Hawaiian Mission Academy. Though clearly fatigued from travel and the intense heat, Brentwood jumped out to a large lead early, limiting their opponents to 3 points in the first quarter. The team never took their foot off the gas and continued to out-hustle and outwork their opponents, winning the game 88-32. This game was a great experience for the team as they learned various differences in the rules between Canadian and American high school basketball. For example, instead of reaching the bonus after five team fouls in a quarter, it is after seven team fouls in the half. Also, once in the penalty, instead of shooting two free throws, the ball is live off the first free throw.
Anyways, the following day, Brentwood took on Maryknoll School. Similar to the day before, the team played staunchy defense, limiting their opponent’s opportunities while converting on their own. This intense style of play led the team to a 64-32 victory. The next day, the team had back-to-back games. The first was against University Laboratory School, who were the reigning 2A State Champions. In the first quarter, Universtiy were much more aggressive than Brentwood, jumping out to a large early lead. In the second quarter, Brentwood slowly chipped away at the lead, cutting the deficit down to four points at halftime. In the locker room, Coach Gage emphasized the team’s need to be more aggressive on both ends of the court, as well as patient on offense as there was no shot clock. The team heeded this advice, increasing their intensity and moving the ball much more efficiently in the second half. With this style of play, the team gained a four-point advantage midway through the fourth quarter. However, we seemed to relax after gaining the lead and watched a four-point advantage turn into a five-point deficit in a couple of minutes. The team battled furiously in the final minute to get back in the game, highlighted by clutch three-pointers by Nathan P Ellis ‘18 and Brendan S Ellis ‘18, but were doomed by yet another American rule: the game clock did not stop following Brendan’s shot, resulting in a Brentwood’s first loss of the season. The final score was 59-57.
There wasn’t much time for the team to hang their heads as they had another game to play, this time against Christian Academy. Brentwood took out their anger from their loss against this team, playing relentlessly on both sides of the ball. Coach Gage used this game to try out various offensive and defensive schemes. The final score was 68-18. Finally, on their last day in Hawaii, the team faced a team from Punahou School (Barack Obama’s former school). Both teams played various sets of games for the first 20 minutes before playing one big game. Similar to the first quarter against University, Brentwood got outworked by the more physical Punahou squad, going down by 9 in the first quarter. They battled back in the second and eventually took a two point lead before halftime. Unfortunately, another team had to use the gym after halftime so that was the end of Brentwood’s playing time in Hawaii, finishing with a 4-1 record.
The team did much more in Hawaii than play basketball games. On several mornings, we would jog to a nearby park to participate in a conditioning session followed by a practice. In the conditioning sessions, Coach Sullivan led the team in various circuit partner exercises, lasting two minutes each, followed by a lap of the park. In the practices, Mr. Gage made us run our plays, as well as introducing new ones that we would run in the games that day. After the practice, the team would jog back to the hotel to proceed with their day. In addition to their conditioning sessions, the team rang in the New Year with a “5K” run to Diamond Head Mountain, followed by a run up the mountain, and a run back to the hotel. The long distance, as well as the intense heat of the sun, resulted in a very sweaty and fatigued group of boys.
Of course while in Hawaii, the team enjoyed a plethora of tourist activities. The team spent their first few afternoons on the beach, soaking up some sun and having ocean fun. On their way to the beach, the team also spent a significant amount of time in various ABC Stores (Hawaiian corner stores) to cover their different needs. Whenever the team got hungry, they would either head to the mall food court or Cheeseburger in Paradise, the best burger restaurant in the world. Some members of the team went to have a meal there four times. It was that good. On New Year’s Eve, the team and the coaches’ families went to Hanauma Bay, a state park, to snorkel and relax after the previous days’ games. Following the Bay, the team hung out the rest of the day and rang in the New Year with dinner at P.F. Chang’s and partying at the beach. The following morning there was a catamaran cruise organized to take everyone out to sea for some more snorkelling and tanning. The team was able to see a number of different fish and sea life, including huge 300-pound turtles. That same night, the Brentwood crew went to the world renowned Hard Rock Café for dinner. Everyone enjoyed a night filled with delicious food and bumping tunes.
On January 2nd, the Brentwood gang travelled to the Polynesian Cultural Center to learn more about their host island, as well as other Pacific countries such as Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga, and Aotearoa (now New Zealand). The team had an afternoon filled with learning about Polynesian cultures, which ranged from throwing sticks in Tititorea (a Maori game) to Tahitian dancing, which Aaron and Cole H, Whittall ‘17 can attest to. The long day was followed by a luau and a show. The luau featured foods from throughout Polynesia while entertainment such as hula dancing and fire throwing took place on stage. The main event was when I wowed the crowd with my “Canadian Hip Hop moves”.
To say this was a fun trip would be a severe understatement. A week in paradise can turn a group of boys who play basketball into a team, and it did. The experiences shared and the lessons learned will be put to use on the court back in BC as the team has a full slate of games and tournaments upon arriving back at school. Huge thank are due to Mr. Gage, Mr. Sullivan, and Lyle Dhur for organizing such an amazing trip for all those involved. See you back on the court in the True North!
Mide O, Privett ‘18