Girls Beat Crossroads, Win 2 at Burroughs

Abby Harper drives to the basket against Clayton's Tyra Edwards on Jan. 11 at BHS. (All photos by Steve Bowman)
Abby Harper drives to the basket against Clayton’s Tyra Edwards on Jan. 11 at BHS. (All photos by Steve Bowman)

Rivera, Franklin Get Double-Doubles in Recent Games

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

The Brentwood High School girls basketball team has had a tough schedule so far this season. Early this week they were 3-6, with all six losses to teams with winning records and three of them in big-school Class 4 or Class 5.

Then, finally, on Jan. 12 came some relief on the schedule: a home game against Crossroads, 3-5. Not Class 5 3-5 but Class 2 3-5. The Eagles soared, scoring a season-high 15 points in the first quarter and winning easily, 51-16. In fact, if they had scored just one basket in the second quarter and none in the second half, they still would have won, 17-16.

Brentwood last week also won two out of three in the John Burroughs Tournament. They barely survived a 22-4 fourth-quarter run by Soldan, destroyed Class 4 but winless Roosevelt, then lost by 13 to Burroughs and their 6-foot-1 star forward Alison Gill.

Brentwood coach Chris Jones encourages one of his players in the game with Clayton.
Brentwood coach Chris Jones encourages one of his players in the game with Clayton.

Encouraging signs

The Eagles, 4-6, can’t seem to win more than two games in a row, and forward Nija Price hasn’t been allowed to play yet, but there have been some good signs this week.

First, point guard Marshelle Franklin scored a season-high 14 points in a loss to Clayton and against Crossroads had her first double-double, 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Marshelle Franklin shoots from the corner against Clayton.
Marshelle Franklin shoots from the corner against Clayton. She scored 14 points.

Second, Sophia Rivera was a beast against Soldan, with 20 points on 75-percent accuracy and 12 rebounds. She’s ranked fifth in St. Louis in blocked shots.

Sophia Rivera and Clayton's Tatianna Benford fight for position during a free throw.
Sophia Rivera and Clayton’s Tatianna Benford fight for position after a free throw is launched.

Third, the younger players, who’ve seen more action with Price out of the lineup, have improved. Sophomore Gabby Gombas and freshman Maggie Callihan combined for 18 rebounds vs. Crossroads.

Said Jones, “Gabby’s post moves are solid.”

Gabby Gombas shoots a free throw in the Clayton game.
Gabby Gombas aims a free throw in the Clayton game.
Maggie Callihan heads for the paint against Clayton.
Maggie Callihan heads for the paint, covered by Daishanae Crittenden of Clayton.

Price’s return uncertain

As for Price coming back, “I don’t know when she’ll be eligible,” Jones said Jan. 11. “Maybe the earliest will be Friday [Jan. 15]. Next week we have no games so I’d say within two weeks she’ll be ready to go.”

Price’s absence and uncertain return date have been a distraction, said Jones and assistant coach Andy Nieters.

“I kind of feel like they’re waiting for her,” Nieters said of the players. “It’s like the season won’t start for them until she comes.”

As a freshman last year Price averaged about 16 points and six steals a game. She’s now the main piece missing from that team, which was 7-2 at this point and went on to 21-4. But Nieters said the two seasons aren’t directly comparable.

“Part of our difficulty is that our schedule has been tougher than last year,” he said. “We’ve played the three larger schools. But Nija had five or six steals a game so I would definitely say that that [output] hasn’t been met by anybody else so far.”

Assistant coach Andy Nieters praises Marshelle Franklin at the end of the first half against Clayton. The Eagles took an early lead and trailed by only a few points throughout the half.
Assistant coach Andy Nieters praises Marshelle Franklin at the end of the first half against Clayton. The Eagles took an early lead and trailed by only a few points throughout the half.

Jan. 12: beat Crossroads 51-16
BHS had its best first quarter of the season, scoring 15 points for a 10-point lead that it pushed to 20 by halftime. Key stats: You’ve heard of balanced scoring but how about balanced rebounding? Brentwood enjoyed air superiority with four Eagles getting at least nine boards apiece. BHS leaders: Marshelle Franklin, 12 points (5-8 FG), 12 rebounds, 3 assists; Abby Harper, 9 points (4-15 FG), 4 steals, 3 assists; Sophia Rivera, 9 rebounds, 8 blocks; Gabby Gombas, 9 rebounds; Maggie Callihan, 9 rebounds.

Amanda Ingersoll covers Clayton's Jill Jones.
Amanda Ingersoll covers Clayton’s Brooke Jones.

Jan. 11: lost to Clayton 55-34
Brentwood came to play, staying within a basket until Clayton took a 5-point lead right before halftime. But in the third quarter missed layups and inside shots put the Eagles down by 10 and they never again challenged. Key stats: Brentwood shot 36 percent from the field and coughed up 20 turnovers. BHS leaders: Marshelle Franklin 14 points (7-18 FG), 9 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 assists; Sophia Rivera, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks; Abby Harper, 3 assists.

Megan Jones shoots over Clayton's Claire Millett.
Megan Jones shoots over Clayton’s Claire Millett.

Jan. 8: lost to John Burroughs 39-23 at Burroughs Tournament
Brentwood trailed by 10 as the fourth quarter started but scored only 2 points in the final 8 minutes. Alison Gill of Burroughs outscored Brentwood’s entire team. Coach Chris Jones: “Our initial defense was great, we just didn’t do a good job on the boards, we didn’t do a good job on Alison Gill [even though we knew] she scores 20-some points a game. Our guards were not relocating to open areas, people aren’t driving, we’re not taking the shot. We talk about those things but it gets down to not working hard in practice.” Key stats: The Eagles committed 18 turnovers and shot 23 percent from the field. BHS leaders: Marshelle Franklin, 10 points (4-16 FG), 4 steals, 4 assists; Sophia Rivera, 9 points, 4 blocks; Maggie Callihan, 8 points (3-7 FG). JB leaders: Alison Gill, 24 points.

Logan Darrow dribbles ahead of a Crossroads player on Jan. 12.
Logan Darrow dribbles ahead of a Crossroads player on Jan. 12.

Jan. 6: beat Roosevelt 51-16 at John Burroughs Tournament
Roosevelt is 0-7 but still. Brentwood won two in a row for the first time this season with decent shooting, 44 percent, and by forcing turnovers. Key stat: The Eagles made 23 steals. BHS leaders: Marshelle Franklin, 14 points (6-11 FG), 8 steals, 8 assists; Sophia Rivera, 12 points (6-11 FG), 8 rebounds; Abby Harper, 4 steals; Gabby Gombas, 7 rebounds.

Sophia Rivera launches a shot over Clayton's Jill Jones (left) and Kaitlyn White.
Sophia Rivera launches a shot over Clayton’s Claire Millett (left) and Kaitlyn White.

Jan. 4: beat Soldan 52-50 at John Burroughs Tournament
The Eagles’ 20-4 run in the second quarter allowed them to survive Soldan’s 22-4 run in the fourth. Sophia Rivera had her best game of the season, combining accurate shooting with her usual domination of the boards. Coach Chris Jones: “Soldan is a good team. They gave us good pressure but we tore it up, we owned it. But then we quit playing and nobody wanted to step up. We were up by 24 points and won by 2. We owned them in the first three quarters of the game, then [after a timeout] our next 10 possessions were turnovers. We forgot to screen out, to communicate and to meet the ball. We were lucky to win it.” Key stats: Brentwood overcame 39 turnovers by shooting 50 percent from the field and grabbing 42 rebounds. BHS leaders: Rivera, 20 points (9-12 FG), 12 rebounds, 3 blocks; Marshelle Franklin, 8 points (3-8 FG), 6 assists, 3 blocks; Abby Harper, 5 assists, 4 steals; Maggie Callihan, 7 rebounds.

Marshelle Franklin breaks the press from Jill Jones (left) and Pierce Sams of Clayton.
Marshelle Franklin dribbles through Daishanae Crittenden (left) and Pierce Sams of Clayton.

Brentwood’s Results — 4-6 as of Jan. 13
Nov. 30: lost to Timberland 50-29 at Orchard Farm Tourn.
Dec. 2: beat Orchard Farm 41-40 at Orchard Farm Tourn.
Dec. 4: lost to Fort Zumwalt North 48-17 at Orchard Farm Tourn.
Dec. 7: lost to McKinley 41-38
Dec. 9: lost to Lift for Life 32-22
Jan. 4: beat Soldan 52-50 at John Burroughs Tourn.
Jan. 6: beat Roosevelt 51-16 at John Burroughs Tourn.
Jan. 8: lost to John Burroughs 39-23 at Burroughs Tourn.
Jan. 11: lost to Clayton 55-34
Jan. 12: beat Crossroads 51-16
Upcoming:
Jan. 13, 6 p.m.: host Trinity Catholic
Jan. 15, 6 p.m.: host Villa Duchesne
Jan. 23: Affton Tournament

Chris Jones speaks to players between the third and fourth periods of the Clayton game.
Chris Jones speaks to players between the third and fourth periods of the Clayton game.
Abby Harper launches a shot.
Abby Harper launches a shot.
Maggie Callihan tries to shoot around Clayton's Jill Jones.
Maggie Callihan tries to shoot around Clayton’s Claire Millett.
Gabby Gombas shoots in the Clayton game.
Gabby Gombas shoots past Claire Millett in the Clayton game.
Megan Jones attracts several Clayton players as she looks to pass.
Megan Jones attracts several Clayton players as she looks to pass.
Amanda Ingersoll reaches for a loose ball along with Clayton's Tyra Edwards.
Amanda Ingersoll reaches for a loose ball along with Clayton’s Tyra Edwards.
Logan Darrow covers Brooke Jones of Clayton.
Logan Darrow covers Brooke Jones of Clayton.

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