Playoffs Start in 3, 2, 1...
With the basketball post-season around the corner, the Brentwood Senior Boys Basketball team has been training harder than ever. To see just how much their hard work had paid off, the team invited some of the best teams in the province to their annual Countdown to the Playoffs Tournament last weekend.
Brentwood’s first game was against the Kwalikum Secondary School Kondors. The game started sluggishly for Brentwood, as they rushed things on the offensive end and were a touch slow on their defensive rotations, often fouling their opponents and sending them to the free-throw line. After a timeout and some substitutions, the team played much more like themselves. They moved the ball almost unconsciously, leading to open layups and shots. They tightened their defense as well, shutting down more quickly and playing with their feet and not their hands. The final score was 73-29 in a very balanced effort.
Later that evening, Brentwood was matched up against Mark Isfeld Secondary. Similar to the previous week’s Showcase game, the gym was a boisterous sea of red. In the locker room before the game, Coach Gage stressed the team’s need to rebound and get around screens. Brentwood listened to their coach, coming out of the gates with laser focus and a great defensive intensity. On offense, the team used great ball movement to their advantage to get easy looks. Though Brentwood did not have a stellar offensive game, their defense was enough to allow them to walk away with a 50-32 victory. Coach Gage applauded the team’s capability to play solid defense for full possessions.
The following morning, Brentwood was set to play the Nanaimo District Islanders. The team took the court hoping to recreate the defensive intensity from the previous evening. In the first quarter, the intentions were there, but the team constantly fouled the Islanders, allowing them to get easy points at the free-throw line. Over the course of the game, the discipline increased and Brentwood closed out possessions without fouling. On offense, Brentwood was able to pick apart both zone and man defense, resulting in several layups and threes. The final score was 74-41. Nathan P Ellis ‘18 led Brentwood with an extremely efficient 25 points off of the bench, a season high for him.
In the finals of the tournament, Brentwood was opposing the Yale Secondary Lions. This game was a rematch of the 5th/6th place game from the Abby Snowball Tournament just two weeks prior, where Yale beat Brentwood by four points. Brentwood, backed by another large fandom, were hungry for revenge.
The start of the game was very back and forth, with neither team being able to hold the lead for a significant amount of time. As the game proceeded, Brentwood managed to get some separation between themselves and the Lions. Going into halftime up seven, Brentwood felt good about themselves but knew they had another half to battle. The weekend’s theme of rock solid defense continued. Brentwood continued to close out possessions with rebounds and they found holes in the opposing defense, leading to easy buckets. Although Yale finished the game on a bit of a run, Brentwood still walked away with a 78-70 victory. Bruno C Whittall ‘18 led the charge with an efficient 21 points and seven rebounds. Captain Aaron S Rogers ‘17 contributed 19 points. The bench also had a solid night with several players scoring and Olamide O Privett ‘18 leading the team in rebounds with eight.
Following the game, awards were handed out to deserving players. Bruno C and Aaron S were First Team All-Stars and Nathan P was named the tournament MVP. Congratulations to those players in particular, but also Brentwood for winning the tournament for only the second time since it was created by Mr. Johnston in 1991. Also, special shoutout to Ian G, Rogers ‘19, a junior who played up and held his own against bigger and better competition. The team will continue to train hard to have success in the playoffs, but as of right now, things are looking up. Thank you to all the people who came to watch the games, as well as the Hype Squad for cheering and throwing prizes into the crowd to get them going. See you again at Islands!
Mide O, Privett ‘18