Freshmen Set Pace in Girls’ 10-3 Start

Freshman Nija Price, Brentwood's leading scorer, is introduced to the crowd at the game with Maplewood last Tuesday at BHS. (All photos by Steve Bowman)
Freshman Nija Price, Brentwood’s leading scorer, is introduced to the crowd at the game with Maplewood last Tuesday at BHS. (All photos by Steve Bowman)

Young guns Franklin, Price, Snare play key roles

 
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
email: bowmansj@sbcglobal.net

Most high school sports teams are only as good as their seniors and juniors. But this season the success of the girls basketball team at Brentwood High School is based more on its freshmen. The class of 2018 is providing the team with three of its top four scorers and two of its top three rebounders.

Sophia Rivera shoots for two of her 22 points against Maplewood.
Junior Sophia Rivera shoots for two of her 22 points against Maplewood.

Of course, it’s usually not a good thing when a program gives so much playing time to so many rookies. But this season it’s wonderful. The Eagles are 10-3, have won five of their past six and are 2-0 in their conference. In their 10 victories, they’ve won by an average margin of 31 points. Two of Class 3 Brentwood’s losses have been to Class 4 schools.

The three freshmen who are making the most noise are Marshelle Franklin, Nija Price and Caroline Snare. Franklin leads the team in assists and steals and is the No. 2 scorer and No. 2 rebounder. Price is No. 1 in scoring, No. 2 in steals and No. 3 in assists. Snare is the No. 3 rebounder and No. 4 scorer.

Head coach Chris Jones predicted before the season that Franklin and Price would key a faster, almost nonstop style of play. So far he’s right. The Eagles are averaging 21 steals a game and winning by nearly twice the margin of last year’s team.

A good example of their fast pace was evidenced in their victory over Maplewood last week. Trailing by seven early in the second period, Jones added a third player to the full-court press and the Blue Devils collapsed. They scored only four points in the final six minutes of the first half while BHS scored 21, and they ended up losing by 24.

“We made an adjustment in the second quarter, put a center fielder in there to help out and get some steals,” said Jones. “We turned it around pretty quick.”

Marchelle Franklin is introduced at the game with MRH.
Marshelle Franklin is introduced at the game with MRH.
Caroline Snare shoots a free throw against Maplewood.
Caroline Snare shoots a free throw against Maplewood.

Bunch of scorers

Complementing their ability to create turnovers is their ability to score. Price and Franklin lead the team in scoring with 15.1 and 13.5 points a game.

“Marchelle is more of a penetrate type of player, she’s really good driving to the basket,” said Price. “I like shooting more.”

But if either is having an off night, the Eagles have three others who have scored in double figures so far this season: Sophia Rivera four times, Snare three times and Air’shay Lampkin twice.

Air'shay Lampkin gets ready to shoot from close range.
Air’shay Lampkin considers shooting while covered by Gracie Biedenstein of MRH,

While Franklin is new to the school district, Price has been in Brentwood basketball for three years.

“I’ve always lived near an outdoor basketball court and I started shooting when I was in fifth grade,” said Price, whose favorite players are Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Brittney Griner and Candace Parker. “I started playing organized in seventh grade with the boys, with Coach [Ben] Peters. I feel like it made me more aggressive because it was harder, to take it up even with contact. Then I played with the girls last year and met Marchelle and our chemistry kind of built up.”

Head coach Chris Jones instructs Nija Price.
Head coach Chris Jones instructs Nija Price.

Upcoming
Jan. 26, 6 p.m., host University City
Jan. 27, 5:30 p.m., host Bayless
Jan. 30, 6:30 p.m., at Valley Park
Feb. 2, 6:45 p.m. at JFK

Abby Harper takes the floor before the game with Maplewood.
Abby Harper takes the floor before the game with Maplewood.

South Central AA Conference
Standings as of Jan. 24
Brentwood 2-0
Valley Park 1-0
Hancock 2-1
Bayless 0-1
Crossroads 0-2

Tiffany Anthony pressures an MRH player.
Tiffany Anthony pressures an MRH player.

Jan. 12: lost at Clayton 55-30
Brentwood trailed by only six at halftime before being blitzed 21-9 in the third quarter. Leaders: Price, 13 points (5-10 FG); Franklin, four steals, five assists, six rebounds; Rivera, five rebounds; Clayton’s Brooke Jones, 20 points. Key stats: BHS was outshot from the field (53 to 27 percent) and from the line (60 to 33 percent) and was outrebounded 36-22.

Sophia Rivera is introduced to the crowd against MRH.
Sophia Rivera is introduced to the crowd in the Hoops for Hope benefit game with MRH. Students from both schools raised over $500 for breast cancer research.

Jan. 13: won vs. Crossroads 52-25
After a slow start, the Eagles ran the table 16-2 in the second quarter for a 17-point halftime lead. Then, just to make sure, they scored 24 points in the fourth. Leaders: Price, 15 points (3-13 FG); Franklin, 13 points, nine steals, eight assists, eight rebounds; Snare, nine rebounds; Abby Harper, seven steals; Rivera, five blocks; Crossroads’ Essence Price, eight points. Key stat: Brentwood made 26 steals.

Abby Harper converts a steal into a basket against MRH.
Abby Harper converts a steal into a basket against MRH’s Juanita Fiddmont.

Jan. 14: won at Trinity 64-33
The Eagles shot a chilly 33 percent from the field but it didn’t matter when they outrebounded Trinity 63-16. Leaders: Price, 22 points (6-12 FG, 6-8 three-point shots), 10 rebounds; Franklin, 18 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, six steals; Tiffany Anthony, five steals; Rivera, 15 rebounds, six blocks; Trinity’s Shanell Lawson, 10 points.

Marchelle Franklin wrestles the ball from Maplewood's Juanita Fiddmont.
Marshelle Franklin wrestles the ball from Juanita Fiddmont.

Jan. 16: lost at Villa Duchesne 61-55
Brentwood beat Villa in rebounding, field-goal and free-throw accuracy and turnovers, but the Saints made four more three-pointers and four more free throws than the Eagles did. Leaders: Price, 16 points (6-12), six steals, six assists; Franklin, 15 points, 10 rebounds, six steals, six assists; Rivera, 20 rebounds, 10 points, four blocks; Villa’s Brooke Carter, 20 points.

Nija Price looks for an opening to the basket against MRH.
Nija Price looks for an opening to the basket against MRH.

Jan. 20: won vs. MRH 77-53
The annual Hoops for Hope night saw the students from both schools raise over $519 for breast cancer research. Leaders: Rivera; 22 points (10-20 FG), 19 rebounds, four blocks; Franklin, 22 points (7-19 FG), five assists; Price, 13 points; MRH’s Gracie Biedenstein, 19 points. Key stat: Rivera, who is shooting 37 percent from the field this season and 8.5 points a game, shot 50 percent and scored 22. “I was falling, I was off balance, and they were just sinking,” she said. “I noticed that I’ve been doing too many fade-away shots so I’ve been staying after practice about a half-hour and working on my post moves. I’ve been working on dribbling and getting big in the post, driving it up.”

Maplewood's leading scorer Gracie Biedenstein attempts a layup.
Maplewood’s Gracie Biedenstein scores two of her team-leading 19 points. She played youth basketball at St. Mary Magdalen, coached by Brentwood’s Chris Jones.

Jan. 21: won vs. Normandy 52-16
Winless Normandy never scored more than six points in a quarter. Leaders: Price, 15 points (6-16 FG), Air’shay Lampkin, 12 points, 11 rebounds, six steals; Franklin, 10 rebounds, seven steals, seven assists; Rivera, 13 rebounds, nine blocks. Key stat: BHS made 23 steals.

Tiffany Anthony shoots a free throw.
Tiffany Anthony shoots a free throw in the Hoops for Hope game.

Jan. 23: won vs. Hancock 70-37
The Eagles led by 14 in the first quarter and went on to stay unbeaten in the conference. Leaders: Price, 22 points (9-16 FG), 10 rebounds, six steals, four blocks; Franklin, 16 points, nine rebounds, six steals, six assists; Snare, 11 rebounds, 10 points; Hancock’s Adrienne Compton, 13 points. Key stat: BHS made 22 steals.

Caroline Snare challenges a Maplewood shooter.
Caroline Snare tries to block Gracie Biedenstein’s shot.

St. Louis leaders
As of Jan. 24, three Eagles rank in the top seven in the St. Louis area in four categories, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Franklin is third in both assists per game (6.23) and steals (6.23), Rivera is third in blocked shots (4.50) and sixth in rebounds (12.3), and Nija Price is seventh in steals (4.6).

Sophia Rivera fights for a loose ball.
Sophia Rivera (right) and Juanita Fiddmont go to the floor fighting for a loose ball.

BHS is 10-3 as of Jan. 24
Dec. 8: won vs. McKinley 60-25
Dec. 10: won vs. Lift for Life 53-43
Dec. 12: won vs. Carnahan 83-29
Jan. 5: won vs. Soldan 54-22 at Burroughs Invitational
Jan. 7: won vs. Roosevelt 63-31 at Burroughs Invitational
Jan. 9: lost to John Burroughs 45-30 at Burroughs Invitational
Jan. 12: lost at Clayton 55-30
Jan. 13: won vs. Crossroads 52-25
Jan. 14: won at Trinity 64-33
Jan. 16: lost at Villa Duchesne 61-55
Jan. 20: won vs. MRH 77-53
Jan. 21: won vs. Normandy 52-16
Jan. 23: won vs. Hancock 70-37

Brentwood players (from left) Amanda Ingersoll, Megan Jones and Sophia Rivera are congratulated by fans after beating MRH.
Congratulated by fans after beating MRH are (from left) Caroline Snare, Amanda Ingersoll, Megan Jones and Sophia Rivera. Ingersoll and Jones are among six freshmen on the varsity roster.

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