Girls Gone Wild: Eagles Run, Gun to 14-3

Despite Brentwood's big lead over Bayless in the second half, head coach Chris Jones tells his players to stay focused.
Despite Brentwood’s big lead over Valley Park in the second half last week at BHS, head coach Chris Jones tells his players to stay focused.

Brentwood dominates conference foes in 7-game win streak

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

Hold the presses: Marshelle Franklin is NOT a basketball fan. She rarely watches it on TV or sits in a gym while two teams play.

Nija Price sings the National Anthem at the Bayless game.
Nija Price sings the National Anthem before the Valley Park game.

“Honestly, I do not watch basketball because I find it so boring,” she said. “It’s just slow. But I love playing it because it’s in the moment.”

For those of us who DO like to watch basketball, Franklin has certainly been providing some moments. She runs the fast-paced offense for the Brentwood High School girls basketball team, which is having its best season in years. The Eagles are 14-3 overall and have won seven straight. They’ve routed all four conference teams they’ve faced by at least 25 points.

“I love playing fast-paced games,” said Franklin, who is No. 2 in the St. Louis area in both assists per game and steals per game. She can score too, averaging 13.8 points an outing, second only to teammate Nija Price. And one more thing: She’s a freshman.

Franklin said she started playing “in kindergarten or first grade” at a YMCA team and guided by her uncle and her grandfather. She stopped playing for a couple of years and started again in the fifth grade. She played AAU ball for Metro High School coach Gary Glasscock and started school in Brentwood last year. She lists her coaching influences as BHS head coach Chris Jones and assistant Dan Williams, and Glasscock.

Marshelle Franklin is introduced to the crowd at the Bayless game last week in Brentwood.
Marshelle Franklin is introduced to the crowd before scoring 21 points on Valley Park. But she was happiest about her 13 assists. “I love passing the ball,” she said. “As long as I get my assists I’m happy.”

Crazy night at Bayless

A sore wrist kept Franklin from dressing out for last Tuesday’s game at Bayless. But as the team warmed up she felt fine and was sinking three-pointers in her street clothes. After coaches got the green light from Franklin’s mother, assistant Dan Williams drove back to Brentwood to get her uniform. She ended up making nine of 11 field goals on the way to 21 points.

It was a crazy game. Price got three fouls in the first quarter and sat out the second. Heavily favored Brentwood led by only six at halftime, earning themselves a stern speech from Jones. Whatever he said worked, as the Eagles exploded for an NBA-like 31 points in the third period.

Said Jones, “At half I asked them, ‘Are you playing to your potential?’ They were like, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Everybody is out to get you. You have to be prepared to have an A game.’ I barked a little bit and let them figure it out. They came out and kicked butt and took names.”

Brentwood's varsity players wait at their locker room door for the end of the junior varsity game with Bayless. From left: Tiffany Anthony, Nija Price, Air'shay Lampkin (front), Marshelle Franklin, Caroline Snare and Abby Harper.
Brentwood’s varsity players wait at their locker room door for the end of the junior varsity game with Valley Park. From left: Tiffany Anthony, Nija Price, Air’shay Lampkin (front), Marshelle Franklin, Caroline Snare and Abby Harper.

Rivera returns after injury

Amazingly, Brentwood has played five of the seven games in its win streak without Sophia Rivera, who is the No. 2 shot blocker and No. 8 rebounder in the St. Louis area. Rivera suffered a shoulder sprain in the final seconds against Normandy on Jan. 21 and didn’t return until the Feb. 2 win over John F. Kennedy. But in her absence Air’shay Lampkin and Caroline Snare have taken up the slack in rebounding. Against University City, Bayless and Valley Park the duo combined for 77 boards.

“They all have roles and they all step up,” said Jones. “Good teams find a way to win.”

Caroline Snare shoots against Valley Park.
Caroline Snare shoots against Valley Park. She had 14 rebounds and 12 points. “Caroline is just a freshman but she does smart things,” said coach Chris Jones. “The way she catches the ball and shoots it in the air, nobody else can do that.”

Air'shay Lampkin applies pressure against Valley Park. Said teammate Marshelle Franklin, "Blah blah blah."
Air’shay Lampkin applies pressure against Valley Park. Said teammate Marshelle Franklin, “Everybody wanted this game really bad, especially Air’shay and Abby [Harper], because Valley Park was conference champs last year and they [Lampkin and Harper] felt Brentwood should have won it.”
Upcoming
Feb. 3 at Crossroads
Feb. 10 at Hancock

Abby Harper shoots one of the four three-pointers she made against Valley Park.
Abby Harper shoots one of the four three-pointers she made against Valley Park. The junior scored a career-high 18 points. “I think it’s the most three-pointers I’ve ever made in a game,” said Harper.”It was exciting. Nija was really excited about it too. I told her I learned from her.”

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

Tiffany Anthony eyes her options against Valley Park.
Tiffany Anthony eyes her options against Valley Park.

Jan. 26: won vs. University City 62-55
Coach Jones might have gained a few gray hairs wondering how his team could score only six points in the second quarter after 20 in the first. But the Eagles made it all good with a 19-point fourth and a come-from-behind win over the Class 4 Lions. “We went to a different type of zone in the fourth quarter and for some reason it worked,” said Jones. “We shut them out rebounding, they fouled like every trip, we knocked down free throws, the momentum switched, Nija finally hit a three and bam, bam, bam, we started putting nails in their coffin.”Key stat: Despite swarming the ball (19 steals, 10 blocks), Brentwood committed 10 fewer fouls and made 11 more free throws than the Lions. Leaders: Price 22 points (6-13 FG, 9-12 FT), 10 rebounds, five steals; Franklin, 17 points, eight assists; Lampkin, 12 rebounds, four blocks; Snare, 15 rebounds; University City’s Alaundra Reed, 19 points.

Nija Price shoots a jumper against Valley Park.
Nija Price shoots a baseline jumper against Valley Park.

Jan. 27: won at Bayless 60-30
The Eagles led by a modest six at the half then exploded for 31 points in the third period, which might be a school record. “They weren’t focused or mentally prepared for Bayless in the first half,” said Jones. Key stat: BHS’s 24 steals. Leaders: Franklin, 21 points (9-11 FG), 10 assists, seven steals; Abby Harper, 11 points, four steals; Price, 10 points; Snare, 14 rebounds; Lampkin, 10 rebounds; Bayless’s Aaliyah Simpson, eight points.

Amanda Ingersoll looks for an open teammate in the varsity game with Valley Park.
Amanda Ingersoll looks for an open teammate in the varsity game with Valley Park.

Jan. 30: won vs. Valley Park 50-25

Adrienne Silerio at the free-throw line against Valley Park.
Adrienne Silerio at the free-throw line against Valley Park.

Brentwood came out pressing and Valley Park looked flummoxed, unable to score for the first 10 minutes and down 16-0 in the second quarter and 28-5 by halftime. Franklin had double-figure assists, Lampkin and Snare combined for 26 rebounds, Harper scored a career-high 18 points, 12 from three-point range, and Price had seven steals and sang the National Anthem. “That,” said Jones, “was one of the best first halves I’ve ever seen.” Key stats: Brentwood was all hands, with 25 steals and 11 blocks. Leaders: Harper, 18 points (7-20 FG); Snare, 14 rebounds, 12 points, three blocks; Lampkin, 12 rebounds, three blocks; Price, seven steals, three blocks; Franklin, 12 assists, six steals; Valley Park’s Taylor Thompson, eight points.

Marshelle Franklin penetrates Valley Park and puts one up from close range.
Marshelle Franklin penetrates Valley Park and puts one up from close range.

Feb. 2: won at John F. Kennedy 48-34
Like many of the Eagles’ opponents this year, JFK crumbled under the pressure defense at one point. In this game, that point was the second quarter, when the Celts scored two points. Key stats: With Rivera back from injury, BHS racked up a 53-24 advantage in rebounding. Also, 23 steals and 11 blocked shots. Leaders: Franklin, 15 points (7-11 FG), 10 rebounds, seven steals, five assists; Price, 12 points, five steals; Rivera, 15 rebounds, 10 points, three blocks; Snare, 10 rebounds; JFK’s Courtney Spires, 11 points.

Air'shay Lampkin brings it up the floor, pursued by Valley Park.
Air’shay Lampkin charges it up the floor, pursued by Valley Park.

St. Louis leaders
As of Feb. 1, three Eagles ranked in the top eight in the St. Louis area in four categories, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Franklin is No. 2 in both assists per game (6.94) and steals (6.13), Rivera is No. 2 in blocked shots (4.50) and No. 8 in rebounds (12.3), and Price is No. 7 in steals (4.69).

Junior varsity coach Andy Nieters calls the play during a timeout in the Valley Park game.
Coach Andy Nieters calls the play during a timeout in the junior varsity game with Valley Park.

BHS is 14-3 as of Feb. 2
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
Jan. 26: won vs. University City 62-55
Jan. 27: won at Bayless 60-30
Jan. 30: won vs. Valley Park 50-25
Feb. 2: won at JFK 48-34

Adrienne Silerio dribbles through Valley Park's defense.
Adrienne Silerio dribbles through Valley Park’s defense.
Riane Caldwell has a word with Andy Nieters.
Riane Caldwell clarifies her instructions from Andy Nieters.
Gabby Gombas fires a pass through Valley Park in the JV game.
Gabby Gombas fires a pass through Valley Park in the JV game.
Megan Jones shoots against Valley Park.
Megan Jones shoots against Valley Park.
Brentwood players are congratulated by the home crowd after the victory over Valley Park.
Brentwood players are congratulated by the home crowd after the victory over Valley Park.

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