BHS Blasts Valley Park, Leads Conference

Freshman Charlie Trieu (left) and teammate Justice Harris react to Trieu sinking a three-pointer in the fourth quarter of the Brentwood junior varsity team's win over Bayless last Tuesday.
Charlie Trieu (left) and teammate Justice Harris react to Trieu sinking a three-pointer in the fourth quarter of the Brentwood junior varsity team’s win over Bayless on Tuesday at BHS. Trieu, a crowd favorite, had been waiting patiently on the bench for his chance to play. With several minutes left in the game and the Eagles leading by about 15 points, coach Ben Peters put the freshman in. Trieu missed his first two shots but swished the third as the crowd roared. It was the third basket he has scored this season for the JV. (All photos by Steve Bowman)

Eagles end losing ways by winning 3 of 4

 

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

A loss is a loss — or is it?

Charles Jones warms up before scoring 22 points against Bayless.
Charles Jones warms up before scoring 22 points against Bayless.
Ryan Short is covered by Demorien Wilson of Bayless.
Ryan Short is covered by Demorien Wilson of Bayless.
Kenya Thompson drives to the basket, draws a Bayless defender and passes to a teammate.
Kenya Thompson drives to the basket, draws a Bayless defender and passes to a teammate.

Not according to the coaching staff of the Brentwood High School boys basketball team. They’ve been telling their players that if you don’t win you can at least get better. The players seem to be listening, as last week they snapped a four-game losing streak, won three out of four and now sit atop the South Central Athletic Association Conference.

Two weeks ago it looked bleak. BHS opened its conference schedule with a loss to Crossroads, a team it had destroyed by 19 points in December. To make matters worse, the shocker came in the midst of a 1-6 streak. When it rains it pours.

“It was rough,” said head coach Kevin Kullum. “We were playing some of the top schools.”

But since last Saturday the Eagles have won three league games in a row, and by an average margin of 25 points. Their match at Valley Park should have been a dogfight on Friday, as the Hawks were 3-0 and had recently clobbered Crossroads by 18. Brentwood won by 22.

“In the middle of that four-game skid, the one thing we tried to emphasize was to just get better after every loss,” explained assistant coach Dennis Buckley. “What I’m telling them now is that they’re getting better. We had a little rough patch there that we had some internal things to deal with, but overall the kids are getting better.”

Having said that, Buckley stepped back and rephrased the concept that he, assistant Ben Peters and head coach Kevin Kullum are trying to impart.

“We want to win, but we want to compete too, and that comes from effort,” he said. “If we don’t get the win then we’ll take the effort.”

Rivals then teammates

If you watched Brentwood basketball in the early 1990s it might seem strange now to see Kullum and Buckley on the same team. They were high school seniors in 1991-92, Kullum the top scorer for BHS and Buckley the main man for MRH.

Said Buckley after a recent BHS home game, “I had one of my biggest games in this gym: 29 points, 18 rebounds, six dunks. He and I had some epic battles.”

But recite those stats to Kullum and you’ll get a smirk.

“I don’t remember the six dunks,” he said. “We’ve gotta find that tape. I think he had 29 but I think I had 40, so . . . just a little 29. He likes to talk about that one game. He didn’t mention the 40, but I got the newspaper clipping.”

Both went on to play NCAA basketball — Kullum for Western Carolina, Buckley for Tennessee Tech and then Missouri Baptist. Later they played together in a 30-and-over YMCA league and have now been friends for 20-plus years. When Kullum landed the Brentwood job last year he asked Buckley to be an assistant.

“He’s just a great guy who knows and loves the game and I thought he’d be a great addition,” said Kullum. “He’s somebody to come in and work out with my bigs, teach them the game. He led our preseason workouts in the weight room, which we started in August.”

Said Buckley, “He reached out and I was more than willing. I’ve coached little kids on a church league but not on this level. What made me do it is that this is my passion. I’m an entrepreneur; I own a company called Shannon Private Homecare and we serve children with special needs and disabilities. But basketball has always been my passion. I told him I can’t thank him enough for this opportunity because this truly is my passion. I could do this for free all day every day.”

Assistant coach Dennis Buckley instructs Ray Reed.
Assistant coach Dennis Buckley instructs Ray Reed.

Jan. 23: won at Hancock 63-31
After losing six of its past seven games against mostly good teams, three of whom are in the St. Louis small-school top 20, Brentwood’s schedule offered a break in Hancock, 2-14. Key stats: The Eagles had 15 steals and shot 74 percent from the line, including 12-for-17 from Charles Jones and Torrie Robinson. Leaders: Jones, 20 points (7-9 FG), seven rebounds; Robinson, 17 points, seven assists, three steals; Jihad Muhammad, eight rebounds.

Jihad Muhammad banks one in against Bayless.
Jihad Muhammad banks one in against Bayless.

Jan. 27: won vs. Bayless 53-43
Each team scored 37 points in the final three periods, which means that the game was decided by Brentwood’s 16-6 flurry in the first eight minutes. Key stat: Bayless, 2-15, did not protect the ball, surrendering 14 steals. Leaders: Jon Duffe-Holmes, 15 points (6-8 FG), four steals; Jones, 12 points, five assists, three steals; Robinson, seven rebounds.

Aro Ntatin congratulates teammates as they head for the halftime break. The Eagles led by 16.
Aro Ntatin congratulates teammates as they head for the halftime break. The Eagles led by 16.

Jan. 28: lost at Trinity Catholic 69-60
The Titans built a 13-point halftime lead with a hot, 40-point first half. The Eagles surged in the third period and cut the lead to nine but couldn’t make their three-pointers. They might have won by shooting just average from the three-point line, but they made just two of 11. Leaders: Jones, 23 points (10-21 FG), Robinson, 14 points, six steals; Muhammad, 12 points, eight rebounds, four blocks; Skylar Sappington, eight assists.

Jon Duffe-Holmes floats to the basket against Bayless.
Jon Duffe-Holmes floats to the basket against Bayless.

Jan. 30: won at Valley Park 45-23
Valley Park led 11-8 in the first period before collapsing spectacularly, scoring only 12 points in the final three periods. Key stats: Certainly 31 percent field-goal accuracy was a culprit, but so were Brentwood’s superior rebounding (31-17) and ball-stealing (15-1). Leaders: Jones, 17 points (6-10 FG); Robinson, 12 points; Sappington, nine assists; Kenya Thompson, 11 steals; Valley Park’s Ryan Courtney and Logan Pederson, 10 points apiece.

Torrie Robinson looks for an open teammate against Bayless.
Torrie Robinson looks for an open teammate.

South Central AA Conference
Standings as of Feb. 1
Brentwood 3-1
Valley Park 3-1
Crossroads 2-1
Bayless 1-2
Hancock 0-4

Seth Winkleman blocks a shot in the junior varsity game with Bayless.
Seth Winkleman blocks a shot in the junior varsity game with Bayless.

St. Louis leaders
As of Feb. 1, Sappington’s 8.07 assists a game is No. 1 in the St. Louis area, and Thompson’s 3.20 steals a game is No. 12.

Brentwood is 7-8 as of Feb. 1
Dec. 2: won vs. Crossroads 60-41 in Valley Park Invitational
Dec. 4: won vs. Valley Park 58-52 in Valley Park Invitational
Dec. 5: lost vs. Principia 42-39 in Valley Park Invitational
Dec. 8: won vs. McKinley 64-38
Dec. 22: lost vs. Westminster 63-16 in MICDS Holiday Invitational
Dec. 27: lost vs. Miller Career 50-49 in MICDS Holiday Invitational
Jan. 6: won vs. Gateway STEM 55-52
Jan. 7: lost vs. Lift for Life 67-30
Jan. 13: lost vs. Crossroads 45-41
Jan. 20: lost vs. MRH 56-41
Jan. 21: lost at Whitfield 61-53
Jan. 23: won vs. Hancock 63-31
Jan. 27: won vs. Bayless 53-43
Jan. 28: lost at Trinity Catholic 69-60
Jan. 30: won at Valley Park 45-23

Skylar Sappington's pump fake draws two Bayless defenders off their feet as he dribbles past.
Skylar Sappington’s pump fake draws two Bayless defenders off their feet and he dribbles past.
Jordan McGehee fights with James Harris of Bayless for a rebound . . .
Jordan McGehee fights with James Harris of Bayless for a rebound . . .
. . . and ends up with the ball.
. . . and ends up with the ball.
Kameron Kullum covers a Bayless player.
Kameron Kullum covers a Bayless player.
Nigel Bracey surveys the Bayless defense.
Nigel Bracey surveys the Bayless defense.
Stephen Suntrup D's up on Bayless in the junior varsity game.
Stephen Suntrup crowds a Bayless dribbler in the junior varsity game.
Aro Ntatin goes for a layup.
Aro Ntatin goes for a layup.
Jihad Muhammad arches his back to avoid a Bayless defender's reach.
Jihad Muhammad arches his back to avoid 6-foot-5 Colby Maynard’s reach.
Jon Duffe-Holmes scores another layup.
Jon Duffe-Holmes scores another layup.
Skylar Sappington guides the ball above the paint.
Skylar Sappington guides the ball above the paint.
Charles Jones cocks a jump shot.
Charles Jones cocks a jump shot.
Jordan McGehee shoots over Hau Tran of Bayless.
Jordan McGehee shoots over Hau Tran of Bayless.
Kenya Thompson passes to a teammate.
Kenya Thompson jumps and passes to escape the Bayless press.
Torrie Robinson dribbles through heavy traffic.
Torrie Robinson dribbles through heavy traffic.
Seth Winkleman finds a teammate (right) to pass to.
Seth Winkleman passes to Nigel Bracey (right).
Charlie Trieu receives a pass . . .
Late in the JV game with Bayless, Charlie Trieu receives a pass . . .
Launches a three-pointer over Hau Tran . . .
. . . launches a three-pointer over Hau Tran . . .
. . . leaps with joy as the shot goes through the net . . .
. . . leaps with joy as the shot goes through the net . . .
. . . and gets a hug from junior varsity coach Ben Peters.
. . . and gets a hug from junior varsity coach Ben Peters.

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