Boys Make It 4 Conference Titles in a Row

Justice Harris brings the ball up the floor in Brentwood's victory over Bayless on Feb. 10. (All photos by Steve Bowman)
Backed by Brentwood’s cheerleaders, Justice Harris brings the ball up the floor in the Eagles’ victory over Bayless on Feb. 12. (All photos by Steve Bowman)

They clinch it with 1-point win at Valley Park

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

For the first time in at least 35 years, the Brentwood High School boys basketball team has won four conference championships in a row.

The Eagles won a thriller Monday night in Valley Park, outlasting the Hawks 49-48 to clinch sole possession of the South Central AA Conference title. They’re 7-0 in the league with one game left, while Valley Park ends up 6-2.

It’s the fourth season in a row, 2013-16, BHS has taken the league crown. Before that they won it in 2004, 1991, 1990 and 1981. If they’ve ever won four in a row before, it was at least as long ago as the 1970s.

Though Brentwood beat Valley Park 66-50 last month, head coach Kevin Kullum suspected the Hawks would give him a closer game on Monday with their 16-3 record and a chance to tie for the league title. He was right.

“We beat them by 16 when we first played them but it’s a different environment down there,” Kullum said last week. “They have a great fan section, so they definitely want revenge.”

Though Brentwood mastered conference opponents this year, its 2-4 record against teams in Class 3 District 4 makes it the fourth seed in the eight-team district tournament. The Eagles will play fifth-seeded Maplewood-Richmond Heights at 8 p.m. Feb. 22. They lost to the Blue Devils on a three-pointer at the buzzer on Jan. 21.

Charles Jones is introduced before the Feb. 10 Bayless game.
Charles Jones is introduced before the Bayless game last week.

South Central AA Conference as of Feb. 16
Brentwood 7-0
Valley Park 6-2
Hancock 4-3
Bayless 2-6
Crossroads 0-8

Seth Winkleman scoops up a rebound from Jim Smith of Bayless.
Seth Winkleman scoops a rebound from Nate McAleenan.

Seeding for Class 3 District 4 tournament
1. Whitfield, 18-4
2. John Burroughs, 11-11, beat BHS by 26
3. Valley Park, 14-4, lost to BHS by 16 and by 1
4. Brentwood, 9-12
5. Maplewood-Richmond Heights, 3-16, beat BHS by 3
6. Principia, 5-17, beat BHS by 13
7. Cleveland NJROTC, 8-12, beat BHS by 4
8. John F. Kennedy, 5-19, beat BHS by 6

Skylar Sappington jumps . . .
Skylar Sappington jumps . . .
. . . and shoots against Bayless.
. . . and shoots against Bayless.

Feb. 16: beat Valley Park 49-48
Brentwood trailed by 7 early but led by 1 at the half. The entire second half was a seesaw battle. Key stats: The Eagles made only 30 percent of their two-point attemps but sank 15 of 22 free throws and collected 60 rebounds, 17 steals and 13 blocks. BHS leaders: Charles Jones, 16 points (6-19 FG), 10 rebounds; Skylar Sappington, 11 points (2-6 FG), 10 rebounds, 10 assists; Aro Ntatin, 4 steals, 3 blocks; Jordan McGehee, 3 blocks.

Nigel Bracey's long reach makes it hard for a Bayless player to shoot.
Nigel Bracey’s long reach makes it hard for Kyle Cunning of Bayless to shoot.

Feb. 12: beat Bayless 69-55
Despite its 3-20 record, Bayless came out inspired and led by a point at the end of the first period. But Brentwood’s inevitable surge, a 39-12 run in the second and third, decided the game. Key stat: Jones was hot, making a combined 14 of 18 field goals and free throws. BHS leaders: Charles Jones, 25 points (9-12 FG); Seth Winkleman, 10 rebounds; Jordan McGehee, 9 rebounds; Skylar Sappington, 8 assists, 3 steals; Aro Ntatin, 3 steals. Bayless leaders: Dionte McDonald, 23 points.

Jordan McGehee tries to block a shot from Jim Smith of Bayless.
Jordan McGehee challenges Dionte McDonald’s shot.

Feb. 11: lost to Cleveland NJROTC 45-41
Brentwood almost won despite two hardships in the final minutes. First, Skylar Sappington, who rarely fouls out, fouled out with four minutes left in the game. “That threw us off balance,” said coach Kevin Kullum, “but Aro [Ntatin] came in for him and did a really good job.” Second, Charles “Butters” Jones scored on back-to-back layups but was whistled for traveling both times. Key stat: The Eagles were plagued by 35 percent shooting from two-point range. BHS leaders: Charles Jones, 14 points (5-13 FG); Jordon Tate, 11 points (5-11 FG), 21 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks; Skylar Sappington, 9 assists, 2 steals; Aro Ntatin, 2 steals; Justice Harris, 2 steals.

Jordon Tate blocks Jim Smith's shot.
Jordon Tate blocks Jeffrey Brown’s shot.

Feb. 10: lost to John Burroughs
The Bombers’ 21-6 blitz in the first quarter settled it. Key stat: The Eagles were felled by 23 percent shooting and 23 turnovers. BHS leaders: Charles Jones, 11 points (4-19 FG); Skylar Sappington, 10 points (4-18 FG), 5 assists; Jordan McGehee, 10 rebounds, 3 steals; Jordon Tate, 3 steals. Burroughs leaders: Derrick Miller, 15 points (5-9 FG); Ronald Smith, 9 rebounds.

Cade Jones jumps high and shoots from outside.
Cade Jones jumps high and shoots from outside.

Feb. 9: beat Hancock 68-60
The Eagles trailed by 6 in the fourth period before a 23-11 run won it for them. Key stat: Brentwood’s 54-25 rebound advantage. BHS leaders: Charles Jones, 25 points (9-18 FG), 10 rebounds, 4 steals; Skylar Sappington, 15 points (5-12 FG), 13 assists, 12 rebounds, 4 steals; Jacob Menne, 13 points (5-9 FG), 8 rebounds, 3 blocks. Hancock leaders: Antione Williams, 14 points (5-10 FG); Jamel Warren, 12 rebounds.

Aro Ntatin goes in for a layup.
Aro Ntatin goes in for a layup.

Brentwood’s results — 10-12 as of Feb. 16
Nov. 30: beat Crossroads 63-23 in Valley Park Invitational
Dec. 3: lost to Kennedy 53-47 in Valley Park Invitational
Dec. 4: beat Principia 54-44 for 3rd place in Valley Park Invitational
Dec. 7: beat McKinley 69-26
Dec. 15: lost to Orchard Farm 73-66
Dec. 23: lost to Francis Howell 77-40 at MICDS Holiday Invitational
Dec. 26: lost to MICDS 78-61 at MICDS Holiday Invitational
Dec. 28: lost to Clayton 71-46 at MICDS Holiday Invitational
Jan. 5: lost to Lift for Life 66-53
Jan. 12: beat Crossroads 54-30
Jan. 14: lost to St. Pius X-Festus 58-43
Jan. 21: lost to MRH 51-48
Jan. 26: beat Bayless 81-60
Jan. 27: lost to Trinity 66-58
Jan. 29: beat Valley Park 66-50
Feb. 2: beat Crossroads 60-28
Feb. 4: lost to Principia 52-39
Feb. 9: beat Hancock 68-60
Feb. 10: lost to John Burroughs 66-40
Feb. 11: lost to Cleveland NJROTC 45-41
Feb. 12: beat Bayless 69-55
Feb. 16: beat Valley Park 49-48
Upcoming:
Feb. 17, 7 p.m.: host Hancock (senior night)
District playoffs at John Burroughs:
Feb. 22: 8 p.m. vs. MRH

In this photo and the two below it, Mackenzie Baum drops to the waiting arms of Jeff Baxter after being held up for a cheer during a timeout in the Bayless game.
In this photo and the two below it, Rebecca Walthall calmly drops to the waiting arms of Mackenzie Baum, Jonas Heisel and Jacob Speaks (right) after being held up for a cheer during a timeout in the Bayless game. In the foreground is Michaela Anderson.

105

106

In this photo and the one below, Jacob Menne goes high for a layup.
In this photo and the one below, Jacob Menne goes in for a layup between Nate McAleenan (left) and Dionte McDonald.

224 Jacob Menne

Quinn McClure covers Jim smith of Bayless.
Quinn McClure covers Roddric Ward of Bayless.
The Brentwood pep band plays during halftime from the band room above the gym. They are (from left)
The Brentwood pep band plays during halftime from the band room above the gym. They are (from left) band director Grant Krener, bassist Jonas “Third Wheel” Wall, drummer Maddie Ridings, and guitarists Josiyah Reed, William Barkofske and Penelope Herrera.
Maddie Ridings plays Green Day's "When I Come Around."
Maddie Ridings plays Green Day’s “When I Come Around.”
Charles Jones gets above the rim.
Charles Jones gets above the rim.
In this photo and the one below, Justice Harris sails in for a layup.
In this photo and the two below, Justice Harris sails in for a layup over Dionte McDonald.

197 Justice Harris

198 Justice Harris

Nigel Bracey gets a rebound and throws it to teammate Skylar Sappington.
Nigel Bracey gets a rebound and throws it to a teammate.
Jordan McGehee heads toward the basket.
Jordan McGehee heads toward the basket.
Seth Winkleman challenges a shot from Jim Smith of Bayless.
Seth Winkleman challenges a shot from Kyle Cunning of Bayless.
Aro Ntatin attacks an unprotected ball.
Aro Ntatin attacks an unprotected ball.

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