From Frosted Tips to Diamond Rings
The Brentwood Senior Boys Basketball season didn’t begin in late November. It didn’t even start in September. It all began in Third Term of the 2015-2016 school year. Mr. Gage organized a meeting in the bottom of Crooks for the boys looking to play on the senior team the next year. I remember sitting in that room, coming off a Provincial Championship at the Junior level. While Mr. Gage acknowledged the accomplishment of the Juniors, he quickly dismissed the previous success as it was no longer relevant. Senior basketball was a completely different beast than Junior; games were longer, players were bigger, faster, and stronger: it was a huge step up. During that meeting, Mr. Gage outlined various expectations for the following season. Players were expected to workout in Strength and Conditioning, which led to several groans. Spirits, however, were lifted with the potential of a trip to Hawaii. I left Crooks that day feeling excited, hoping the season ahead would be a great one.
Flash-forward to First Term of the 2016-2017 school year. Brentwood received two huge additions to the basketball team in the form of Cole H, Whittall ‘17 and Somto D, Rogers ‘18. The first few months were the typical starting struggle; players often participated in other sports, gym time was scarce due to volleyball, and quite frankly, we were out of shape. Regardless, everyone was excited to be playing basketball and itching to face some external competition. Following the November midterm, Brentwood played a series of scrimmages against the Island’s top 3A schools, coming away with some impressive wins. Soon after, the team hosted ISAs where they comfortably beat the 2A and 3A Provincial Champions and played an extremely competitive game against St. Michaels University School.
Before the basketball season truly commenced, the team held another meeting in Ross. The players voted on a Captain, who ended up being Aaron S, Rogers ‘17. Also, the team established some goals for our season. Obvious ones like “Win Islands” and “Win Provincials” were thrown out, but there were other smaller, but just as meaningful, milestones the team wished to accomplish such as “Get Better Whenever We’re On The Court” and “Be A Family”. These were put on display during the G. W. Graham Invitational Tournament in Chilliwack. With each game, our play improved, capped off with a huge win against BC’s #2 ranked team at the time, the G. W. Graham Grizzlies. Extending the run of basketball into Christmas break, we went 3-1 in Hawaii whilst building team chemistry at the beach, in the ocean, or at Cheeseburger in Paradise.
Sometimes it takes losing to truly appreciate winning, a lesson we learned in the new year. In addition to the loss in Hawaii, Brentwood finished with a 2-2 record at the highly-talented Abby Snowball Tournament. Though we were all disappointed, there were several takeaways that proved to be key for the remainder of the season. There many accomplishments such as winning the Countdown to the Playoffs Tournament, as well as winning North Islands and Islands, the latter featuring convincing wins over Island rivals SMUS and Lambrick Park.
Having been ranked #1 for most of 2017, we went into Provincials with the #1 seed; we knew each team was coming for us, but we were ready. After cruising through our first two games, we faced Graham for the third time of the season. Knowing their personnel, we were able to slow down their key guys and go on enough runs to lead us to an 85-63 victory. This set us up in the finals against SMUS. After a long season, we were ready for the bright lights on the big stage. Or at least, we thought we were. With nothing seeming to go our way in the first half and heading into halftime with an 11-point deficit, heads were hung low in the locker room. Yet, one thing rallied us: family. In the second half, we battled back, led by aggression and some huge plays from Nathan P, Ellis ‘18 and Brendan S, Ellis ‘18, earning us Brentwood’s first Senior 2A Provincial Championship.
I must say it’s truly been an honour to battle alongside this team that has now become my family. In particular, thank you to our graduating players Aaron, Cole, and Ender M, Whittall ‘17 for their leadership both on and off the court; you all will be missed next year. Special thanks to Coach Gage and Coach Sullivan for conducting us the whole way, as well as to everyone else who made this magical season possible. Let’s see what we can do next year!
Olamide O, Privett ‘18