Islands Champs Once Again!
This past weekend, the Brentwood Senior Boys Basketball team hosted the Vancouver Island Basketball Tournament, where the top three teams earn berths to provincials. Coming off a first place finish at North Islands, Brentwood entered the tournament as the #1 North seed. With at least three games in front of them determining their future, the team was excited to get onto the court and battle.
In the first round, Brentwood faced the team from Glenlyon Norfolk School. From the tip, Brentwood played with outstanding defensive pressure, turning their opponents over several times leading to easy layups and open threes. Going into halftime with a large advantage, Coach Gage told his team to slow the game down by increasing ball movement, being patient, and looking inside the paint often, all while maintaining the same defensive pressure. This tactic allowed starters to get valuable rest and for other players to get some extra playing time. The final score was 69-25. Somto D, Rogers ‘18 led Brentwood with 16 points, a season-high.
In the semifinal, Brentwood was set to face the St. Michael’s University School Jags. This was set to be a clash of the titans as it featured the current #1 ranked team versus the preseason #1 ranked team. In a Times Colonist article at the start of the season, it was declared that “no team will work harder than SMUS”. Brentwood saw this as an opportunity to prove everyone wrong. The team did not disappoint. The intensity Brentwood played with on the defensive end was the greatest it had been all season. Unlike the first time they played SMUS, Brentwood did not reach, rather, feet were moving and each player was communicating. On offense, the team scored mainly in transition but also used good ball movement to get easy looks. The final score of the game was 76-37, a huge win for the team not only on the scoreboard but also as the W earned them a spot at AA Provincials.
In the finals, Brentwood was matched up against Lambrick Park, the South #1 seed. Before the game, Coach Gage challenged the team to harness their defensive prowess from the night before, as they were certainly going to need it again. As both squads warmed up, Brentwood fans poured into the Woodward Sportsplex, creating an exciting atmosphere to perform in. Once the game began, there were some nerves on both sides as neither team could get much going. As the first quarter wore on, Brentwood began to pick things up offensively, jumping out to an early lead. Over the course of the first half, Lambrick would go on runs to cut their deficit, but Brentwood always had a response, ending the first half with a 45-32 advantage. The third quarter featured more of the back and forth game between the two teams, with three-pointers falling in abundance on all sides. With a combination of Brentwood’s increased defensive effort and Lambrick’s increased fatigue, however, the home squad was able to stretch out the lead to the eventual 25 point margin of victory, 84-59. This was the first time Brentwood had won Islands at the senior level since 2013. Leading Brentwood’s scoring charge was Johnny M, Ellis ‘18, who had 18 points and had several triples that contributed to the game’s three-point barrage.
When all was said and done, there were several awards to hand out following the game. Brendan S, Ellis ‘18 was selected as a Second Team All-Star and played outstanding defense on some of the toughest guards on the Island while still adding his typical offensive output. First Team All Stars included Captain Aaron S, Rogers ‘17 who was selected for his leadership both on and off the court. Also on the First Team was Casper P, Whittall ‘18 who led the team’s defense while also pouring in one of his best scoring outputs of the season. Finally, Bruno C, Whittall ‘18 was named the Tournament MVP as he consistently reached double figures continuing his reputation as a lockdown defender.
While the team is extremely pleased with their results this weekend, they know that this is just the beginning of their journey. The next week of practices will be used to the fullest advantage in preparations for the events to come in Langley.
I’d like to give a huge thank you to the twelfth graders on this team: Aaron S, Cole H, Whittall ‘17 and Ender M, Whittall ‘17 for their leadership on the team and contributions to the Brentwood basketball program for however long they have been here. They played their last game in front of a Brentwood crowd this weekend and I hope they know they are greatly appreciated by everyone. Now, lead us to a Provincial Championship. This is gonna be fun!
Olamide O, Privett ‘18