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Bruins triumph in Battle of Woods IV

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Photos by ANDREW COLLIGNON for BHP

Brentwood edges Ravenwood to return to region finals, sectional

By ANDREW SKWARA
For Brentwood Home Page
Add yet another great chapter to the Brentwood-Ravenwood rivalry, with the Bruins coming away with revenge and a whole lot more this time around.

Playing for an unprecedented fourth time this season and in an elimination game, Brentwood held on for a 47-44 win over its archrival Tuesday night in the Region 6-AAA semifinals in front of a packed gym at Hillwood High. Brentwood ended the season of a Ravenwood team that had won their last two meetings and in the process advanced to Thursday's region championship game while also earning a spot in the upcoming sectional tournament.

Ravenwood's Devin Robinson and Brentwood's Jack Montague, both senior point guards, battle for the ball in their final meeting.

Ravenwood cut a 10-point second-half deficit down to one and had the ball with a chance to go ahead in the closing seconds, but Cody Shelton took a clutch charge and Jack Montague followed with two free throws for the final score.

All four meetings in the rivalry have now come down to the final seconds and been decided by a combined total of only eight points.

“It is the greatest feeling in the world,” Bruins Coach Dennis King said. “I told (my players) you couldn't have a four-game series with the rivalry that was more dramatic than what we had. We brought some incredible basketball to Williamson County. There isn't a shred of difference in their heart and talent and (ours).” 

Ravenwood's season ends one game short of the sectional round for the third straight year and the district tournament champs must say goodbye to six seniors this time.

“I have two girls at home, but 16 boys to comfort,” Raptors Coach Patrick Whitlcok said. “Our senior class had a tremendous run with three straight 20-win seasons and three straight trips to the region semifinals. They set up a new era in Ravenwood basketball so I'm very proud of them.

“I'm extremely proud to coach at Ravenwood and extremely proud of our community for showing the kind of class that needs to be shown in these kind of games. Our kids have a lot of resiliency and I wouldn't want to coach anywhere else.”

Asa Duvall led Brentwood with 11 points, including three 3-pointers in the first quarter, and Jones scored 10 points. Ravenwood's Andy Moore had a game-high 15 points including four 3s.

 Jack Montague final free throws and BHS celebration

With Brentwood clinging to a 45-44 lead, Montague missed the front end of a one-and-one foul shot, giving Ravenwood the ball with 25 seconds left.

After a series of timeouts, Ravenwood point guard Devin Robinson took the ball at midcourt, drove inside to his left and let a floater go in traffic a split second before colliding with Shelton. The ball glanced off the rim, but a whistle blew first and a charge was quickly called.

“It's a 50-50 call and it didn't go our way and that's unfortunate,” Whitlock said.

After Montague hit his next two free throws, Ravenwood had the ball with two seconds left, but Will Jones stole a full-court pass to end the game.

Using a type of box-and-one defense, Brentwood managed to shut down Robinson. Using one defender to shadow Ravenwood's leading scorer at all times, he finished with just four points and never had an open look while going 1-of-9 from the floor.

“We did something to absolutely try and negate (Robinson) and I thought it worked,” King said. “You always have the danger of somebody picking up the slack, but it was just enough. Keeping him out of the open court is the biggest thing; we just had to seek and find him whenever we missed.”

Montague, Brentwood's star point guard headed to Yale, was held to six points, but he dished out five assists and created some key baskets late by driving inside, drawing in the defense and firing pinpoint passes to open teammates.

 Video interview with Brentwood's Will Jones

BHS post players Cody Shelton (nine) and Will Jones (eight) combined for 17 points and made a number of important rebounds and blocks.

Duvall started the game with a shooting barrage, burying three of first four attempts from beyond the arc which sparked Brentwood to a 17-11 lead.

Ravenwood answered with a 11-2 run, capped by a 3-pointer from reserve Ryan Nelson that gave the Raptors a 22-19 lead. But the Bruins scored the last seven points of the second quarter and took a 28-22 lead into the half.

Brentwood stretched that lead to 38-28 on a Jones layup, but Ravenwood steadily chipped away and got some help when Andy Schumpert was called for an intentional foul after knocking Robinson to the floor in a hard midair collision that incensed the Raptors fans. Robinson sank both free throws and Moore followed with a pair of 3-pointers, including a deep bomb with 1:32 remaining, that left the Bruins up 45-44.

“Our game plan was solid, we just didn't get enough shots to win the game,” Whitlock said. “We knew (Brentwood's box-and-one) was coming and we had our best 3-point shooter (Moore) get a lot of open looks. Our big guys had opportunities too. It's just unfortunate that it worked out like it did.” 

BHS now plays in the region final at 7 p.m. Thursday at Hillwood, and will host a sectional next Monday with a victory or travel to the Region 5-AAA champion's gym with a finals loss. The Bruins lost by just a point in last year's sectional and are still looking for the school's first TSSAA boys state basketball tournament berth.

The Lady Bruins play at 7 p.m. Wednesday night in the region finals against Antioch, with the champion getting to host a sectional game on Saturday night and the runner-up going on the road.



 

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