The Brentwood boys have several long-range bombers and some powerful inside players. But the Bruins’ best weapon might just be their patience.
That trait certainly came in handy for the Bruins on Tuesday night during a 51-48 road victory over rival Franklin.
Nursing a two-point lead with just over two minutes to play in the District 11-AAA contest, Brentwood methodically milked the clock for roughly 40 seconds before John Windley found an open lane to the basket for a layup. Windley was fouled on the play, and he converted the free throw to give the Bruins a 49-44 lead with 1:18 to go.
Brentwood held on from there to secure career victory No. 300 for head coach Greg Shirley. The Bruins improved to 14-4 overall and 8-0 in the district.
“We took care of the ball on that possession, and when Franklin went for the steal, we were able to get a basket, which was huge,” said Shirley. “We didn’t have many turnovers in the second half tonight, and that was a big key for us.”
After Windley’s 3-point play, Franklin (13-6, 5-4) answered with a bucket by Aidan Smylie to trim Brentwood’s lead to 49-46 with 54 seconds remaining. Seconds later, following a missed free throw by Brentwood, the Rebels had a chance to tie the game, but came up empty on a 3-pointer.
Brentwood’s Griffin Burke then knocked down two free throws with five seconds left to push the Bruins’ lead to 51-46. Franklin’s Matt Thurman scored on a put-back at the buzzer to set the final score.
Windley and Evan Drennan finished with 14 points each and Burke added 13 for the Bruins, who scored just 26 points in the first half and 25 in the second, but still found a way to maintain their perfect mark in district play.
Brentwood, which has a huge game against district co-leader Dickson County on Friday night, finished with 17 field goals in the win, eight of which came from 3-point range.
“Our team doesn’t always put a lot of points on the board — not as many as we want — but we know how to win in the end,” said Drennan, who scored seven of his 14 points in the fourth quarter. “And I think that really shows the character of our team.”
Shirley, who coached in Florida before coming to Brentwood, has hit two major milestones this season. In addition to notching his 300th career win on Tuesday night, he recently collected his 100th win during his tenure with the Bruins.
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Thurman finished with a game-high 19 points for Franklin. Reed Kemp added 14 points and Smylie had 12 for the Rebels.
“We played well tonight, and if we make some shots down the stretch, we could have won the game,” said Thurman. “We’ve got a lot of areas to improve on, but we moved the ball pretty well tonight.”
Brentwood owned a 26-25 lead at the half. The third quarter then opened with a flurry, including four lead changes in the first three minutes. Kemp hit a pair of 3s for Franklin, and Burke had two 3s for Brentwood during that sequence. Macen Redner added another 3 for Brentwood late in the quarter, helping the Bruins grab a 39-36 lead.
Franklin jumped back in front, 40-39, early in the fourth quarter after a pair of free throws by Thurman, and the game was tied at 42-42 after a jumper by Kemp with 5:36 remaining.
Drennan then scored back-to-back buckets to give Brentwood a 46-42 lead, and the Bruins held on late, thanks in large part to the key 3-point play by Windley with 1:18 to go.
“Brentwood is a quality team, and when they get a lead on you, they are tough because they value the basketball, make free throws and make smart plays,” said Franklin coach Jason Tigert. “That’s what they did tonight.”
Brentwood boys 51, Franklin 48
BHS – 11 15 13 12 — 51
FHS – 11 14 11 12 — 48
BHS (51) – John Windley 14, Griffin Burke 13, Macen Redner 6, Aaron Walton 4, Evan Drennan 14.
FHS (48) – Reed Kemp 14, Aidan Smylie 12, Brevin Klym 3, Matt Thurman 19.
3-pointers — Brentwood 8 (Windley 3, Burke 3, Redner 2). Franklin 5 (Kemp 2, Smylie, Klym, Thurman). Free throws — Brentwood 7-9, Franklin 3-5.