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Bruins' 'Battle of the Woods' victory seals perfect district record

Photo by Reed Galin

Is this year’s version of the Brentwood High School boys basketball team the best in school history?

That is the question many will ask as the Bruins closed their regular season with a 59-36 win at Ravenwood Thursday night, sealing their first undefeated streak through district play in their 31 years.

While giving credit to a deep bench and weapons on the perimeter, coach Dennis King singled out sophomore James McPherson as a big reason for the team’s success.

“It all starts with a point guard who knows exactly what his coaches want,” King said of McPherson. “He also has such poise and vision and toughness. You put some weapons around him..”

Thursday’s victory in the year’s second Battle of the Woods marked Brentwood’s 17th in a row.

 The Bruins (25-2) and Raptors (14-12, 5-5) battled to nine lead changes in the first half as neither squad could pull away by more than four points.

Brentwood’s Andy Schumpert put the Bruins on top 24-23 with less than a minute remaining in the first half – the final lead change.

Ravenwood could not keep up with the District 11-AAA regular season champions in the second half as the Bruins went on a 33-13 run in the final 16 minutes.

 “The difference was that they came out and executed and we didn’t,” Raptors coach Patrick Whitlock said. “The flood gates opened and it got out of hand. It’s disappointing – we’re hurt and we’re down, but we’re not out.  I still believe in these kids and still think that we could be playing basketball for a very long time.”

A 23-point margin of victory seemed unlikely late in the second quarter as Brentwood’s Jack Bautista left the game with a bloody nose suffered after falling to the ground after a layup attempt. Lucky for Brentwood, Cody Shelton had returned from injury two games earlier and played key minutes off the Bruin bench.

 “I don’t know how long he’ll be on the bench,” said King. “It was great to see (Shelton) on the floor. He probably could have played a little bit at Franklin, but his knee was bothering him and said he wanted to play at least one game this week.”

With Shelton, a 6-foot-5 forward, back on the court, Schumpert can move to his natural wing position.

“He’s really not our back-to-the-basket, inside player,” King said. “His versatility we can use a lot more. It just happened at the perfect time.”

In his old role, Schumpert had a game-high 17 points while Shelton added 12 off the bench. Post Jacob Adcock also had 12 points for Brentwood before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

Ravenwood hung with Brentwood early thanks to quality play on the offense glass as a majority of the Raptors’ points came off rebounds in the first half.

“We were aggressive,” Whitlock said. “I don’t know if we were tired or what. We didn’t play a whole lot of guys on Tuesday and they’re a little bit deeper than us right now. That’s just the way it played out, we don’t have any excuses.”

Ryan Nelson had a team-high eight points for the Raptors while Matthew Hailey and Brandon Jones each added seven.

Posted on: 2/7/2013


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