A young and injury-ridden McCallie basketball squad dropped their Saturday afternoon matchup with powerhouse Brentwood Academy, 51-33. Missing a multitude of players including multiple senior starters and losing another key player to injury in the game, an inexperienced Blue Tornado squad was not able to hang with a solid Eagles team.
First-year McCallie Head Coach Steve Robison was proud of his team for not giving up despite the circumstances.
“We’re a little snake bit, but what can you do? You just put your head down and keep working,” said Robison after the game.
The game started out rough on both ends in a defensive battle, or an offensive struggle perhaps. Neither team could buy a basket until Brentwood knocked down a three almost four minutes into the game to break the glass. After seeing one go in, the teams settled in and remembered how to make some shots. McCallie was able to knock down multiple threes from J.C. Shulman and Dylan Capazirio, but the Eagles took off for the remainder of the half and led 13-6 after one.
The offensive struggles for McCallie continued in the second, and the rest of the game. The Blue Tornado scored no more than 10 points in any quarter. Robison attributed the lack of buckets to a strong Brentwood Academy defense, but also a lack of strength from younger guys to help combat their physical play.
“They are very aggressive and strong. They use their hands well on defense. This is new for a lot of these guys. They’ve never played a Brentwood Academy or that aggressiveness. Part of it is us… This is why we play these guys. We want to know what it’s like,” said Robison.
BA continued their dominance fueled by point guard Jayson Nixon. Nixon hit double figures scoring in the half thanks to three threes and distributed the ball to his teammates as well. McCallie had no answer for his elite shooting and feel for the game. Tyler Tanner also stood out for the Eagles for similar reasons. He didn’t get as many shots to fall, but he ran the offense well and the fast break to perfection multiple times.
Trailing 42-24 after three, McCallie left with some positives as they played the Eagles even in the fourth quarter. Robison credited their defense for stepping up and not quitting in the game that was already decided.
“I felt like we made a baby step forward defensively… I felt in a half-court setting defensively we were really solid. That’s something to build on… We made a little progress in the halfcourt.”
Finishing the night at a final score of 51-33 with no real standout players or performances and a plethora of injuries, the first-year coach wasn’t quick to make excuses. He knew his guys could have been better, especially in taking care of the ball and hitting shots, but he also was glad they got to experience the nature of the game as they did. The team will only get better as they return their senior leaders from injury, and a loss like this will help the supporting cast in the future.
“The two guys we have coming back are experienced versus a little bit inexperienced. We have guys learning on the fly, but that's okay. I think long term this could be good, but it will certainly help when we get some of those other guys back,” said Robison.
McCallie now looks forward to a big home matchup with Boyd Buchannan to try to get back on track Tuesday and hopefully being back over .500 on the year.
McCALLIE 6 8 10 9 - 33
BRENTWOOD ACADEMY 13 14 15 9 - 51
McCallie (33) - Millner 7, Kennebrew 4, Shulman3, Polous 3, Wingard 3, Sharplin 3, Smith 3, Capazario 3, Hamilton 2, Salter 1, Kwasigroch 1
Brentwood Academy (51) - Jayson Nixon 14, Dre Moss 11, Macintyre 8, Tanner 8, Pohlman 3, Rasmussen 2, Weber 2, Cane 1
3-Point Goals - McCallie 7 (Capazario, Kennebrew, Shulman, Polous, Sharplin, Milner, Smith); Brentwood Academy 5 (Nixon 3, Tanner, Pohlman)
Records - McCallie (3-4); Brentwood Academy (5-1)