After what was hopefully a restful holiday break, the second half of the season awaits the county’s high school basketball teams.
Brentwood High School’s boy’s team will have perhaps the shortest break, which began after their game against Clarksville Dec. 29 at the Father Ryan Christmas Basketball Tournament.
The Bruins took a strong lead of in the first quarter but ended with a loss of 88-76. However, the prior game against Stratford gave them a win — making their overall record 7-5 and 4-2 in the district.
“We are scoring more than we have in the past,” said Brentwood’s boys basketball coach Randy Hatley in summing up the season so far. “Our inside scoring is better than we anticipated and our team depth is as good as we expected.
“However, we must refocus our attention on stopping others,” Hatley said.
Hatley said the team would have a tough stretch ahead of them in the coming weeks. They face off against Independence and an 11-3 Franklin Jan. 7.
“Hillsboro and Centennial both beat us earlier, so we are really looking forward to playing them again,” Hatley said. Independence High School’s boys team also competed in the holiday tournament, which started out strong with a 73-51 win against Clarksville.
Senior guard Johnny Kuchar scored 33 points and had seven assists to help the Eagles into the next round against Mt. Juliet.
“Mt. Juliet played great…great defense,” said Independence’s head coach Darren Henrie. “They deserved the win.”
Although Kuchar was the lead scorer in their following game with 10 total points, it wasn’t enough to win.
The team went on to beat Father Ryan 48-39 in their third-round consolation game to take third in the tournament.
“We won two out of three,” said Henrie. “I’m generally happy with that but if we’re going to a tournament we’re trying to win.”
The Eagles have a 12-2 overall record after the loss to Mt. Juliet—and plan on continuing the wins heading into the second half of the season, according to Henrie.
“We’re headed into the thick part of our district schedule so there will be several tests along the way,” Henrie said. “Hopefully [we’ll be] building a good, strong district record to set us up for the district tournament and maybe give us some home court advantage this year.”
Brentwood Academy head coach Lyle Husband said the team’s seven senior athletes are their strongest attributes going into the second half of the season.
“It’s a group that’s been together for a while and played really good against the competition the last couple years,” Husband said. “That’s our strength going into the season.”
Husband said there is stiff competition ahead for the eagles that will test their overall record of 8-1. Those opponents include Ensworth and MBA.
“We face White’s Creek and Liberty, which will obviously be a good test for us,” Husband said.
Fairview’s boys basketball coach Ricky Bledsoe said the team’s abundance of youth is the high point for them despite the Yellow Jackets’ standing overall. They are headed into the second half of the season with a record of 0-4 in the district.
“We’ve been in every game until the start of the fourth and then we let it slip away because mentally we’re not tough yet,” Bledsoe said. “We’ll be able to play a whole game before too long.”
Centennial’s girls team is also quite optimistic headed into the coming months, according to head coach John Boucher. The Lady Cougars took third at the Midway Christmas Classic and winning in the consolation game 38-34 over Sullivan East — led by top scorers Annie Kelly with 19 points and Rebecca Yarbrough with 12.
“All the teams in our district are tough,” Boucher said. “We are an underdog in almost every game we play.”
The Cougars are 4-11 overall and 1-4 in the district, but the four losses come from the top teams in the district, according to Boucher.
“Our strong points are that we are getting healthy and playing as a team,” said Boucher. “Defense is the key for us.”
Christ Presbyterian Academy’s girls team took fourth in the McGavock Civitan Tournament over the holiday break after beating East Literature 60-34 in the first round and Hunters Lane 49-36 in the second.
The Lions succumbed to losses in the next two rounds. They scored 74-41 against Mt. Juliet and 69-34 against Hillsboro in the consolation game.
Coach Scott Oatsvall said the teams strongest attribute is experience headed into the rest of the season — something lacked with last year’s team, which had no seniors.
“Although we’ve got some upperclassmen, we’re playing with a lot of freshman and sophomores,” Oatsvall said. “I think as the season progresses its going to be a natural matriculation process where we’re going to be able to get some of these younger players up to speed with the veteran players.”
Oatsvall added that once this process starts, the team will be able to do many more things such as different line ups, combinations and do a few more things offensively and defensively.
“We’re learning how to handle pressure and protect the ball this year,” Oatsvall said. “It’s definitely one of our strengths.”