Trib HSSN Girls Basketball Team of the Week: Brentwood Spartans
The Trib HSSN Girls Basketball Team of the Week is one of the co-champions in Section 2-2A, the Brentwood Spartans.
There are a few programs in the district where a section title is just something to routinely check off on a list of season goals.
That’s not the case with Brentwood. The Spartans’ share of the crown is their first in 25 years.
They sealed the historic section championship Monday with a 43-37 victory over playoff-bound Ellis School.
“The win was a very tough game for a few different reasons,” reflected Rachel Thomas, now in her sixth season as Brentwood coach. “It was our senior recognition night, so my senior starters were dealing with the emotions of not playing at home ever again, we were playing to clinch and Ellis is a good team. Although it wasn’t our best overall performance, they worked together as a team and found a way to win.”
Brentwood was not happy in just tying Serra Catholic for the section championship as it traveled to Franklin Regional on Wednesday to battle a Panthers team that is one of the top programs in Class 5A.
The Spartans stunned the Panthers, 43-40.
“This victory is a huge confidence-builder and a great way to build momentum going into playoffs,” Thomas said. “At one point, we were down 13 in the third quarter and cut it to eight in the beginning of the fourth. They really played well as a team and slowly chipped away to gain the lead and hold it for the win.”
Brentwood won its first four games this season, but closed out calendar year 2018 with a 6-3 overall record.
Eleven straight wins in 2019 put the Spartans on the short list of contenders in Class 2A.
“I truly believe our success in the New Year was attributed to our three loses in December,” Thomas said. “We refocused, changed our approach and worked very hard on key aspects of the game. These girls really focused on each game as we prepared, never taking any opponent lightly.”
One of the highlights of the streak occurred Jan. 22 when the Spartans hosted front running Serra Catholic, a team that beat Brentwood, 65-58, in December.
Not only did Brentwood win the rematch, it won 62-33.
“To beat Serra by nearly 30 at home was a huge confidence-builder for us,” Thomas said. “Every girl who saw the court that night knew exactly what their role was and how to be successful in that role to help us win.”
Thomas said the Spartans’ depth has been one of the keys to the team’s success.
“Our bench has been and continues to play a vital role in our success. Junior Maddi Travis and freshman Maura Daly provide quality minutes and are always ready. (Against) Serra, freshman Bella Grimm stepped up in a defensive role. Since the loss to them in December, my team has been ready and preparing to play them again, and it showed that night.”
Bishop Canevin is the heavy favorite to win another district title in Class 2A. But along with Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Laurel and Serra Catholic, Brentwood is right there at the next level with hopes of a lengthy postseason run.
“Obviously, Bishop Canevin is a very good team, but I believe we are too,” Thomas said. “We have played a very tough nonsection schedule, beating very good bigger schools. I believe those competitive close games will help us to be successful in the playoffs.”
Don Rebel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Don at [email protected] or via Twitter @TheDonRebel.