It’s been a roller coaster basketball season for local high school teams and we’ve just been playing for a week.
The Baylor Red Raiders played their first game of the season Tuesday night in Duke Arena and the Red Raiders looked a lot better than average, despite being quarantined for the first 10 days of practice and having two starters already out for the season with injuries.
The Brentwood Academy Eagles were the foe on Tuesday. Playing their fourth game in the past seven days, the Eagles made it four wins in a row with Tuesday’s 50-48 victory, but it wasn’t easy as it was still anyone’s game with less than two minutes to play.
The girls game was equally as exciting and intense as the Lady Eagles hit three free throws in the final 15 seconds to preserve a one-point lead as they hung on for the 53-51 victory.
The Brentwood boys don’t have a single senior on the current roster and only one junior. But seven football players will be returning to action on Monday, so things will get better in a hurry for coach Matt Hoppe’s Eagles.
“I thought we played well in the first half as we did some things right, but I’ve known Mark Price for a long time and I know he always has well-coached and well-prepared teams, so it was about what we expected,” Hoppe said outside the Brentwood dressing room after the game ended.
“The difference was that we were able to make one more play than they did. I told our guys before the game started that if we do a good job of sharing the basketball and play really hard, that gives us a better than average shot at winning the game. I thought we were able to do just that.
“I really didn’t know what to think at the end, but we got a huge stop on the defensive end and got a big bucket from Alec Rasmussen to win. But we all knew it would be a close game and we’re just thankful to be leaving here with a win,” Hoppe concluded with a smile.
Ivan Reap is sidelined for the season with a torn ACL and big man Nick Kurtz is recovering from a torn labrum. Add that time off at the start and coach Price has more than had a big list of challenges to face.
The Red Raiders showed that they still have some talented players who are healthy and Price is just confident that time will tell for this year’s squad.
“That was a fun game to watch and I’m really pleased with how we competed,” Price said after a discussion with his assistant coaches later.
“I thought we were a little bit candid on the glass in the first half, but we realized we had to do better there in the second and we did. I thought we got better defensively and I’m proud of how we responded when we were behind.
“We haven’t had any scrimmages and we have a lot of new faces, but we gave ourselves a chance at the end. We just didn’t hit the big shot when we needed it and they did,” the veteran coach added.
Baylor led twice in the opening stanza, but the Eagles scored seven straight points in the final two minutes for a 17-11 lead at the first break.
Troy Boynton scored on a drive from the wing to start the second stanza, but Brentwood was able to maintain their lead of 26-19 at intermission despite 3s from Baylor’s Al Pecuilus and Eli Sparkman.
Trent McNair’s drive from the wing with just under a minute left in the half gave the Eagles their biggest lead at 26-16 before Sparkman bagged a long one from the key right before the buzzer to cut the halftime lead to seven.
Tyler Tanner’s layup at the end gave Brentwood a 37-31 lead after three and his three-point play with 4:55 to play had the visitors ahead by six at 44-38.
Baylor rallied with a 7-0 run to take its first lead since early in the game when Sparkman sank a 3 from the corner, Peciulis scored on an inside move and Boynton hit two free throws for a 45-44 lead with 3:26 to play.
Rasmussen scored on a putback to give the Eagles the lead at 46-45 with 2:30 left before Robert Morton gave Baylor its last lead with a 3 at the 2:11 mark for a 48-46 edge.
Drey Moss knotted the score at 48 with 1:44 to play and Baylor was content to work for a final shot. A turnover with 1:21 left gave the ball back to the Eagles, who waited patiently for the final shot.
Rasmussen, who had eight points for the game, made a break along the baseline and got a nice feed from the key and the stocky sophomore converted for the game-winning bucket with four seconds left.
Baylor had a final shot, but Sparkman’s heave from 60 feet caromed off the front of the rim as the horn sounded.
McNair scored 14 points to lead Brentwood Academy while Moss was also in double figures with 11.
Peciulis was tops for Baylor with 20 points while teammates Sparkman and Boynton both finished with nine.
Baylor had an unofficial 24-22 advantage on the boards after trailing by 13-8 at intermission. Boynton had seven for the Red Raiders while Peciulis grabbed six, all in the second half. Tyler Tanner and McNair both had five for the Eagles.
BRENTWOOD ACADEMY GIRLS 53, BAYLOR 51: Millie Brown was one of three Lady Eagles who scored a dozen points, but she sank three of four free throws in the final 14 seconds to provide the ultimate margin of victory.
Baylor never had the lead in the game, but the score was tied twice in the final five minutes, including at 40-40 with 4:53 to play and then at 45-45 with 2:15 when Kortney Restelli scored on a layup.
A 3 from the wing by Riley Oleksik with 22.7 seconds left got Baylor within a point at 50-49 before Brown did her thing at the charity stripe.
Bella White converted a layup with 2.6 seconds left for the final two-point margin.
While Brown got equal support from Jaila Lee and Savannah Dews on the scoring, White was Baylor’s only double-digit scorer after finishing with 10 points. Restelli added nine off the bench while Cadashia Collins followed with seven. Britt Barton and Oleksik both added six while normal leading scorer Raegyn Conley was limited to just four points.
The Lady Eagles also had an unofficial 33-23 advantage on the boards as Caroline Clemmer snagged nine and Dews eight. Emma Martin had seven for Baylor while Conley claimed six.
BRENTWOOD ACADEMY 8 13 11 21 -- 53
BAYLOR 6 8 15 22 -- 51
BRENTWOOD ACADEMY (53) – Lee 12, Perry 2, Fields 7, Brown 12, Dews 12, McDonald, Clemmer 7, Grimes, Chandler 1.
BAYLOR (51) – White 10, Restelli 9, Barton 6, Conley 4, Oleksik 6, Collins 7, Johnson 5, Martin 4.
3-POINT GOALS: Brentwood Academy 6 (Lee, Brown 3, Dews, Clemmer); Baylor 7 (Restelli, Barton 2, Oleksik 2, Collins, Johnson.)
BRENTWOOD ACADEMY 17 9 11 13 -- 50
BAYLOR 11 8 12 17 -- 48
BRENTWOOD ACADEMY (50) – McNair 14, Tanner 7, Ellis 3, Pohlman 7, Moss 11, Weber, Rasmussen 8.
BAYLOR (48) – Sparkman 9, Whaley, Boynton 9, Yates, Haynie, Peciulis 20, Collins, Morton 6, Restelli, Sparks 4.
3-POINT GOALS: Brentwood Academy 3 (McNair 2, Pohlman); Baylor 5 (Sparkman 2, Peciulis, Morton 2.)
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)