Brentwood Academy girls exact revenge on Ensworth
By Doug Dyer, for the Herald
In 2007, Brentwood Academy girls basketball was enjoying some great times; a year removed from a state championship and in the midst of a third straight run to the state title game in Division II.
And until Friday night, that year marked the last time the Lady Eagles earned a win over rival Ensworth.
BA (19-5, 6-2 Division II-AA East/Middle) turned up the defensive intensity and held the Lady Tigers to just four field goals in the second half of a 39-34 victory, ending a streak of 15 straight losses in the series.
“It’s hard to put into words,” said sophomore guard Anna Stephens, who scored 10 points for the Lady Eagles. “I’m glad I could do it with these teammates. We knew we could beat them, it was just a matter of time.”
“There’s not a kid on this team who had beaten them,” BA coach Rhonda Brown said. “We had it the last time but just couldn’t make free throws.”
BA lost 59-57 to Ensworth on Jan. 21 after giving up an early lead late in the game.
The Tigers have been the gold standard by which other Division II programs are measured, reaching the state championship game five times in the last six seasons and winning three titles. Beating this team is special.
“They’re always good, and they always play hard,” Brown said. “We’re getting a little tougher. We’re convinced we can beat anybody, but we also can lose to anybody.”
After trailing 20-16 at halftime, there were no magic words or fiery halftime speeches, Stephens said, just a refocusing on the little things.
“She told us we just needed to rebound and not force it,” she said. “We had open shots, we just needed to finish. We did a lot better in the second half.”
The Lady Eagles responded by forcing six Ensworth turnovers in the third quarter and limiting the Tigers (16-3, 7-1) to just two points on free throws. They crashed the boards and contested shots, making it difficult for the Ensworth shooters to find room.
“The key was rebounds,” Brown said. “We got killed on the boards at the half, 30-15. All we talked about was rebounding, and the rest of it was going to take care of itself.”
BA capitalized on second chance opportunities because of its rebounding, something it did not do in the first two quarters.
“We decided to battle,” she said. “That’s going to play into your defense, because they only get one shot instead of four. We talked about making everything hard (for Ensworth).”
Sydni Harvey also scored 10 for BA, while Breuna Jackson had seven and Tyra Aery had five. Kennesha Nichols led Ensworth with 13 points, and Jordyn Cambridge had nine.
The third quarter started with a 9-0 BA run, and the Lady Eagles’ largest lead was eight points. Ensworth’s first field goal of the second half did not come until 6:58 left in the fourth quarter.
The Lady Tigers made a late charge, cutting the lead to four with :24 left when Brittany Smith knocked down a 3-pointer from the right wing, but Stephens had faith her team would be able to close out the win.
“I just kept believing in my teammates,” she said. “I knew it was our moment.”
With two region contests to go, BA sits in third place behind Ensworth and Harpeth Hall. Up next is a trip to Chattanooga to face Baylor.
Ensworth boys 57, Brentwood Academy 52: The Eagles led by 11 at halftime but saw Ensworth rally in the second half to pick up the win.
Only five players scored for the Tigers, led by Andrew Fleming with 27 points and Jordan Bone with 19. Jordan James (13 points) and Brandon Taylor (10) scored in double figures for BA, while Ed Wilks and Jeremiah Oatsvall chipped in with eight points each.
The Tigers did most of their damage from the perimeter, hitting eight 3-pointers for the game, four of those by Bone, while BA had only two.
Posted on: 2/8/2014