Senior Boys Basketball Tastes First Defeat

Thursday, January 25, 2018 - By: Olamide O, Privett ‘18

The Brentwood Senior Boys basketball team has had an excellent start to their season, going undefeated while racking up impressive victories at the Heritage Woods Kodiak Klassic and the UVic Senior Boys Invitational Tournament. Entering the second half of January, the #1 2A was about to be tested, with two highly competitive tournaments back-to-back in the forms of the Abbotsford Snowball Tournament and the Vancouver College Emerald Tournament. With so many games ahead of them, the teams few practices were precious before heading to Abbotsford last Thursday for the three day affair. 

In their first game Brentwood faced the Kelowna Owls, who had handily beaten the Yale Lions earlier that day. In the opening minutes, it appeared the team was still on the ferry. The boys were sloppy, turning the ball over several times and missing wide open layups. As the quarter progressed, Brentwood’s legs returned a bit, enough for them to get steals and finish in transition, finishing the quarter up 21-11. The second quarter was a struggle for the team, as they continued their porous ways, often turning the ball over in the backcourt, leading to easy points for the Owls. Though they were outscored in the period, Brentwood was still up by nine points at halftime. During the break, Coach Gage and Coach Sullivan urged the team to take their time and be more patient and solid with the basketball. 

The team responded well, taking much better care of the ball in the third quarter. This increase in possessions led to more baskets as Brentwood scored 26 points in the period, ultimately leading the game 58-48 after three quarters. In the game’s final period, the Owls would try to make a run, but strong play from Somto D, Rogers ‘18, and Nathan P, Ellis ‘18, closed the door on Kelowna’s chance. While it wasn’t pretty, Brentwood won the game 81-65. Player of the Game Nathan P led the team with 19 points and eight rebounds while Bruno C, Whittall ‘18, contributed 15 points and nine rebounds. Somto D also had an excellent game with 16 points and eight rebounds while Brendan added 15 points, five rebounds, and five assists. While the coaches were happy with the win, they acknowledged that the team would need to take much better care of the ball and the glass in their next game. 

The following day, Brentwood faced the Walnut Grove Gators, a team that has rivaled Brentwood since the 2016 Junior Provincial Final. In last year’s Snowball Tournament, Brentwood lost to the Gators by 8 points in a hotly contested game. To commence the game, Brentwood gained a large lead, due to Nathan P’s hot start. He scored 12 first quarter points on a myriad of jumpers from all over the court. Save for a few defensive lapses, Brentwood played fairly good defense on the Gators’ key players, finishing the first quarter up 23-15. In the second quarter, Brentwood continued to make shots with their aggressive offense, going up by as much as 22 points. However, turnovers kept the Gators within striking distance. At halftime, Brentwood was up 47-31 and was feeling pretty good about the position they were in. 

Unfortunately, the team let the lead get to their heads, as they allowed Walnut to go on a run to begin the third period. Over time, the team regained the reigns of the game, running their offense to near-perfection, scoring 25 points in the quarter. Unfortunately, their poor start and finish to the period allowed the Gators to score 27 in the third quarter. Still, Brentwood was up by 14 points heading in the final frame. In the fourth quarter, Brentwood struggled mightily offensively. At times, their offense would run to a standstill, with little movement and quick shot attempts. Even when they did run their offense well, the ball just refused to go in the basket. On the opposite end, Gators star James Woods caught fire, hitting several difficult layups and contested three-pointers, despite Bruno C’s outstanding defense. Woods’ play brought the Gators back into the game, as with just over a minute left, he hit a three-pointer that put his team up by two points. Johnny M, Ellis ‘18, quickly responded for Brentwood, tying the game up on a putback layup. The following possession was chaotic. The Gators moved the ball around until it reached an open three-point attempt which was blocked by Nathan P, however, the player gathered his own rebound and made a contested layup to put Walnut up by two points again. On the following play, Brentwood missed two good looks to tie the game and were forced to foul. After two made Gator free-throws, things were looking grim for Brentwood. However, Johnny M banked in a three with a dozen seconds left to bring Brentwood within one point. After intentionally fouling, James W made one of two free throws; on the miss, Brentwood advanced the ball, but wound up out of bounds off of the Gators. On the out of bounds play, Brendan S missed a potential game winning three while Somto D and Nathan P missed tying tip-ins and Brentwood lost their first game of the season 83-81. Nathan P led the team with 24 points and nine rebounds while Bruno C had a near triple-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists while playing excellent defense on James W all game long, despite James recording 42 points. Johnny M had a great game off the bench with 14 points and five rebounds. The team actually destroyed the Gators on the glass 56-43, but turned the ball over ten times more than the Gators and could never seem to come up with rebounds when necessary. The team was absolutely devastated, but the coaches challenged the team to use this loss as fuel for the following game and the rest of the season. 

In the 3rd/4th game, Brentwood was matched up against the Burnaby South Rebels. Still reeling from the previous night’s loss, the team tried to come out energized. Though playing hard, temporary mental lapses allowed the Rebels to gain a 9-2 advantage to start the game. After a timeout, Brentwood battled back to narrow the deficit to two points by the period’s end. The second period saw Brentwood’s mental toughness match its physical intensity, as their defensive prowess led to several easy transition baskets. On the offensive end, the team did not shoot the ball well, but crashed the offensive glass to score. Brentwood went into halftime up by nine points, leading 35-26. In the locker room, the coaches emphasized that the team maintain their focus and their control of the game. The boys certainly responded well. Again, the boys were not making shots, but their defense in the period was outstanding. The Rebels had to work extremely hard on the offensive end, only mustering a measly six points in the quarter. Brentwood got out on the fast break and continued to hit the offensive glass hard, scoring 18 points in the quarter and leading 53-32. In the final period, Brentwood continued their defensive intensity and was able to coast to a 70-47 victory to come third in the tournament. Player of the Game Somto D led Brentwood with a very efficient 15 points and nine rebounds while Nathan P had 13 points and seven rebounds. Olamide O, Privett ‘18, and Johnny M had solid games off the bench, combining for 19 points, eight rebounds, and five steals. After the game, Somto D and Nathan P were named Tournament All-Stars for their outstanding play all weekend, being the first Brentwood players to do so in the Snowball’s history. 

Although the boys are no longer undefeated, the loss pointed out various small changes that need to be made to make them truly elite. The team looks to sharpen their play in practice before leaving for the Vancouver College Emerald Tournament this Thursday, where coincidentally, they face Walnut Grove in the first round. The boys will certainly be hungry for revenge as they look to establish themselves as one of, if not, the best team in the province this weekend. 

Olamide O, Privett ‘18

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