Brentwood boys basketball coach Greg Shirley says how a team plays defense shows the character and effort of a team.
His team displayed plenty of both Tuesday night in the Region 6-AAA semifinals against Hillsboro at Brentwood High School.
John Windley swiped an inbounds pass and raced down the sideline for a layup with 24 seconds left to seal a 50-43 win for the Bruins, who advanced to the region championship game and earned a berth in the Class AAA sectionals. Brentwood will battle Franklin Thursday for the region title and a right to host a sectional game Monday night.
“I’m very proud of these young men,” Shirley said. “I thought in the second quarter we really did a great job challenging every shot. I don’t think they had any offensive rebounds the first half.”
The Bruins went on a 9-3 run in the second quarter, holding Hillsboro to 1-of-8 shooting after the Burros hit 4-of-5 3-pointers in the first quarter to hold a slim 12-10 edge after the opening eight minutes. After the Bruins catapulted in front early in the second frame, they never gave up the lead the rest of the way and Hillsboro played less cont
“I was expecting a defensive battle,” said Brentwood senior Ben Mills, who collected 10 points and four rebounds. “(Hillsboro) kind of plays like us: more defense, more sets on offense, so I was expecting it to be low scoring.
“I wasn’t expecting us to score 50, to be honest, because we like to keep it low. I like keeping it low. I like defense, but I was expecting to win.”
Cole Massey finished with 15 points to lead Brentwood, hitting 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. Harry Lackey supplied an all-around game with nine points, eight rebounds, four steals and three assists. Windley closed with 10 points, including 5-of-5 foul shooting with four of those coming down the stretch.
“They’re a hard-nosed team, man,” said Hillsboro senior Rodney Thweatt, who scored eight points and shadowed Lackey all game. “They stick to what they do, they’ve got good principles on D.”
Brentwood’s advantage swelled to 16 on a 3-pointer from Massey with 5:27 to go in the third. Hillsboro began to chip away, though. Brentwood kept challenging shots, but the Burros kept hitting. They went 5-of-8 from the floor in the third and then hit 7-of-14 in the fourth.
Tehlor Buford scored on a runner with his off hand to pull the Burros within 42-33 at the 4:18 mark. When Darrow Parrish hit a scooping layup under Lackey’s out-stretched arms, Hillsboro made it 42-38 with 1:09 to play. The lead went back to six with two free throws from Windley, but JP Pegues knocked down a step-back jumper to narrow the lead to four, again.
With 45 seconds to play, Joey McPherson hit two more free throws in the double bonus for a 46-40 cushion. Pegues answered with a 3-pointer from the top of the key as Hillsboro completed a 26-13 run to make it a one-possession game.
The veterans got the best of the youngsters Tuesday in the Region 6-AAA semifinals.
Brentwood stayed poised and committed to their methodical play. Windley hit two more at the line with 31 seconds to play and then came up with game-sealing steal and layup on the next inbound.
The Bruins will host Franklin Thursday night for the region championship. Both teams will play Monday in the Class AAA Sectional round with Thursday’s winner hosting another home game.
“We will play anywhere anytime, but, man, I would love to be back here at our house,” Shirley said.
Brentwood boys 50, Hillsboro 43, Region 6-AAA Semifinals
HHS – 12 3 11 17 – 43
BHS 10 9 17 14 – 50
HHS (43) – JP Pegues 4-7 0-0 11, Darrow Parrish 3-8 0-3 7, Rodney Thweatt 3-6 0-0 9, Ryan Wilcox 1-5 1-1 3, Nate Hall 0-0 0-0 0, Cameron Buchanen 4-6 0-0 9, Avant Burns 0-0 0-0 0, Desmond Henderson 0-0 0-0 0, Tehlor Buford 2-4 0-0 5. Totals – 17-36 1-4 43.
BHS (50) – John Windley 3-4 5-5 11, Preston Moore 1-4 1-3 3, Harry Lackey 4-9 1-4 9, Cole Massey 5-6 0-0 15, Ben Mills 4-10 2-2 10, Joey McPherson 0-2 2-2 2, John Franklin Burks 0-1 0-0 0. Totals – 17-36 11-16 50.
3-point goals – HHS 8-16 (Pegues 3-3, Thweatt 2-4, Buford 102, Buchanan 1-3, Parrish 1-3); BHS 5-9 (Massey 5-6). Rebounds – HHS 19 (Hall 5); BHS 24 (Lackey 8). Assists – HHS 10 (Parrish 3); BHS 8 (Lackey 3). Steals – HHS 5 (Parrish 2); BHS 8 (Lackey 4). Blocks – HHS 2 (Pegues, Wilcox). Turnovers – HHS 12; BHS 10. Total Fouls – HHS 14; BHS 10. Fouled Out – None.