Senior-Heavy Team Leads BHS in Opener

With Karvon Owens no longer in the lineup, Will Erby (shown) is playing point guard for Brentwood. He’s one of seven seniors on Brentwood’s roster. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit

A coach rarely uses the term “well-oiled” to describe his team’s performance in its first game of the season. But Brad Kern did it on Monday night after his Brentwood High School boys basketball team routed Construction Career Center 77-27 at BHS in both teams’ season opener.

Kern didn’t mean that his team played flawlessly. He was simply reacting to the fact that all his starters, and more than half of the 13 players on his roster, are seniors. All five starters have played basketball together since they were sophomores or freshmen. All were key to last year’s team that won conference with a 7-1 record and went 17-9 overall.

“The seniors have been around a while so they kind of know what to expect,” Kern said. “They show up to work, play hard and it’s been an easy transition from last year to this year. They’re kind of well-oiled already.”

Kern’s all-senior starting lineup against CCC consisted of guards Will Erby, Justice Bratcher and Marc Powells, and forwards Xavier Bratcher and Roland Floyd. But they weren’t the only ones who got to play. The Eagles led by 35 points at halftime and wound up using 13 players, 11 of whom scored.

“I thought it was a total team effort,” said Kern, who is starting his ninth season at BHS. ”Nobody was trying to play individually. They made each other better. They worked, made the extra pass, crashed the boards and played good team defense.”

Justice Bratcher scores on a layup against Construction Career Center. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
Marc Powells launches a layup Monday night. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
Xavier Bratcher is one of six Eagles who are 6 feet 3 inches or taller. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

New Role for Erby

Despite playing sparingly in the second half due to the lopsided score, Erby led the Eagles with 17 points and dished five assists.

“Everybody scored and contributed so it was a good team win,” Erby said. “We’ve all played together since we were freshmen, except for Marc who joined us when he was a sophomore. So we have a good chemistry.”

Leading scorer Will Erby (left) and top rebounder Roland Floyd enjoy a moment after Erby scores against Construction Career Center. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

The Eagles no longer have first team all-conference guard Karvon Owens, who transferred to another school for his senior year. That changes Erby’s role.

“I was mostly on the wing last year and now I’m moving to point guard,” Erby said. “He [Owens] had a bunch of assists so I have to distribute the ball more. It feels a little bit different. There’s one less ball handler. Also, I think I have to step up and be more vocal this year, more of a leader than I was last year.”

Most of Erby’s 17 points came from seven-for-11 two-point shooting. Junior guard Torrie Robinson scored 11 points, followed by senior forward/center Josh Moreno (10 points), Floyd (nine points), Justice Bratcher (eight), Powells (seven) and Xavier Bratcher (seven).

Torrie Robinson drives against Construction Career Center. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
Senior Josh Moreno shoots a free throw. Though it’s his first year on the team, he scored 10 points on Monday night. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Floyd led with seven rebounds. Xavier Bratcher made three steals and blocked three shots. Freshman guard Skylar Sappington had six assists.

Freshman Skylar Sappington came off the bench and played confidently at guard. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Kern’s Tallest Team

Brentwood teams usually lack height. This year if they lack anything it’s shortness – only two of the 13 players are shorter than six feet. The starting five on Monday was 6-3, 6-3, 6-2, 6-1, 5-10.

“Since I’ve coached here we’ve never been as tall as we are now,” said Kern. “We’ve got length – not 6-8 but a lot of guys who are 6-2 and 6-3 with long arms.”

Six-feet-4-inch senior Jack Wright scores inside. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
Michael McGrath (left) and the 6-foot-4-inch Ryan Short pressure a Construction Career Center player. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Big Turnout

Once again this year, Brandon Hogan is the junior varsity coach and Ben Peters leads the freshmen. College student Brook Fox is an assistant. With the high turnout, Kern needs all the help he can get.

“We had 39 show up for practice and we’re down to 36 now,” Kern said. “Eight guys play strictly freshman and there are 15 or 16 on the JV. We have a ton of guys – I had to order two new uniforms.”

With one game down and more than 20 to go, Kern sounds very optimistic.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who can play,” he said. “We’re skilled and we’ve got guards and post players. There’s a lot to be excited about with this team and I think it showed tonight with the balance we had.”

Ray Reed (left) pressures a Construction Career Center ball handler. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
Michael Mills (right) is the only sophomore on Brentwood’s varsity roster. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
Marc Powells gets above the rim in the second half. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Valley Park Tournament, Dec. 2-6
Brentwood is the No. 1 seed, followed by Kennedy, Priory, Principia, Trinity, Valley Park, Crossroads and Confluence Prep. The Eagles play Confluence at 5 p.m. on Dec. 2, with the winner playing at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 5 and the loser playing at 5 p.m. Dec. 4.

Kern Has 99 Wins at BHS
Kern now has 99 wins as Brentwood’s head coach, so he’ll be shooting for 100 against Confluence. His first season was in 2005-06.

Coming Up:
Dec. 2, 5 p.m. vs. Confluence Prep at Valley Park Tournament
Dec. 14, 4 p.m. vs. Hollister at Ozark Mountain Shootout in Glendale, Mo.

Will Erby and head coach Brad Kern enjoy a joke late in the game. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Brentwood’s Varsity Roster
Justice Bratcher, 6-feet-1, guard
Xavier Bratcher, 6-3, forward
Will Erby, 5-10, guard
Roland Floyd, 6-2, forward/center
Josh Moreno, 6-2, forward/center
Marc Powells, 6-3, guard
Jack Wright, 6-4, center
Michael McGrath, 6-2, guard/forward
Ray Reed, 6-3, forward
Torrie Robinson, 5-9, guard
Ryan Short, 6-4, center
Kenya Thompson, 5-6, guard
Michael Mills, 6-3, forward
Skylar Sappington, 6-0, guard

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