Eagles looking for consistency as conference schedule starts
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
Torrie Robinson does not lead the Brentwood High School basketball team in scoring or in steals. But in one game last week he ruled both categories, and was the free-throw king as well.
Robinson displayed all three skills in the final minute of the Eagles’ 55-52 win over Gateway STEM last Tuesday at BHS. With the score tied, the Jaguars were looking to set up the winning basket when Robinson stole the ball and raced in for a layup.
“Once I got the steal I knew I had to get it up the court as fast as I could,” he said. “I looked at the sideline and saw Coach saying, ‘Torrie, go.’ When I got to the basket I made sure I went up strong.”
The Eagles, who had trailed by 10 points at the start of the fourth quarter, were finally ahead. But Robinson wasn’t done. After the Jaguars missed their next shot he was fouled driving to the basket, and he calmly sank a free throw for a three-point lead with several seconds left.
“Duffe [Jon Duffe-Holmes] set me a really good screen and I got open and they fouled me,” he said.
Said coach Kevin Kullum, “That free throw sealed the game.”
Robinson, a 5-foot-8 senior guard, has been one of the Eagles’ more consistent players. He’s the team’s best free-throw shooter (73 percent) and is ranked second in points, steals and assists.
Now one-third of the way through the regular season, consistency is something the team, 4-4, has lacked. The same group that won by 27 and by 19 has lost by 47 and by 37. The 37-point defeat, to Lift for Life, came the night after the victory over Gateway.
“We need to go back to the drawing board and work on what we need to work on to get better,” said Kullum after the Lift for Life game. “It’s a long season, there are ups and downs.”
Said Robinson, “We’ve got to learn how to start games harder. We need to start it up in the first quarter instead of waiting to turn it up around the fourth quarter.”
Jan. 6: at Brentwood 55, Gateway 52
It’s amazing that Brentwood trailed by 10 in the fourth quarter. From the field it ended up outshooting Gateway 72 percent to 58 percent. The Eagles made 10 steals. But they were inconsistent, exploding for 22 points in the first quarter but only three in the third.
Robinson led the team with 13 points and Skylar Sappington scored 11. They each shot 73 percent from both the field and the line. Sappington had 11 assists, Duffe-Holmes eight rebounds and Kenya Thompson four steals.
Gateway fell to 0-7.
Jan. 7: Lift for Life 67, at Brentwood 30
Brentwood kept the game close until halfway through the second quarter when Lift for Life, 6-8, started a 22-2 run that produced a 22-point halftime lead.
Plagued by cold shooting from everybody except Charles Jones, who scored 17, the Eagles fell further and further behind. Meanwhile the Hawks were carried by the outside shooting of Marcus Bryant (25 points, 10 of 14 field goals, three three-pointers) and the inside dominance of the 6-foot-5 Montez McMath (19 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks).
Three other factors were Brentwood’s inability to make three-pointers (one for nine) and LFL’s 14 steals and 10-rebound advantage.
“I think they had a little letdown from playing Gateway yesterday,” said Kullum. “They didn’t come out as prepared as I’d like to see. It didn’t look like our regular team. I think they played a little selfish ball, didn’t play together as a unit and it just snowballed real quick.”
St. Louis leaders
Skylar Sappington still leads the St. Louis area in assists per game, with 8.63. Kenya Thompson is third in steals per game with 3.25.
The Eagles open the conference schedule at Crossroads at 7 p.m. on Jan. 13. They play host to Maplewood-Richmond Heights at 6 p.m. Jan. 20 and travel to Whitfield for a game at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 21.
Brentwood is 4-4 as of Jan. 12
Dec. 2: Beat Crossroads 60-41 in Valley Park Invitational
Dec. 4: Beat Valley Park 58-52 in Valley Park Invitational
Dec. 5: Lost to Principia 42-39 in Valley Park Invitational
Dec. 8: Beat McKinley 64-38
Dec. 22: Lost to Westminster 63-16 in MICDS Holiday Invitational
Dec. 27: Lost to Miller Career 50-49 in MICDS Holiday Invitational
Jan. 6: Beat Gateway STEM 55-52
Jan. 7: Lost to Lift for Life 67-30