BRENTWOOD – It wasn’t an ideal situation for the Brentwood boys basketball team in Friday’s District 11-AAA showdown with crosstown rival Ravenwood.
Brentwood lost two players to injury — standout guard Jalen Lawson suffered a hip pointer, while forward Ahmad Arnold tweaked his knee — but the visiting Bruins persevered, grinding out a 66-63 win over the Raptors.
“It was just a classic Brentwood-Ravenwood game is what it was, just possession after possession,” Brentwood guard James McPherson said. “Even though we’re the better team on the books, it’s just a battle every time — the Battle of the Woods.”
Said Ravenwood coach Patrick Whitlock, “It was kind of the last team standing.”
McPherson, who finished with 16 points for the district-leading Bruins (18-3, 6-0 11-AAA), knocked down a pair of free throws in the final seconds of overtime, helping to secure the hard-fought victory, while teammate Grant Teichmann tallied a team-high 23 points — 20 in the second half.
“We had two pretty significant injuries,” Bruins coach Dennis King said. “Losing Ahmad in the first 30 seconds he was in and then losing Jalen was a huge blow to us. I’m proud of the guys that stepped in. They did the job.”
Senior Nick Gleason led the way for Ravenwood (9-9, 3-2), finishing with 22 points, while sophomore Elon Smallwood added 21, including a pair of treys to help force overtime.
“Elon is a very talented player and he’s only a sophomore,” Whitlock said. “I think he kind of came into his own tonight. He’s had some games where he’s scored well, but he hasn’t really filled it up like that.”
The Bruins took control early, seizing a 13-3 lead on McPherson’s layup. McPherson, who tallied 12 points in the first half, concluded the opening period with a last-second 3-pointer, spotting his squad a 20-14 edge.
Lawson buried a trey to begin the second, but Ravenwood put together a 13-3 run, claiming its first lead on sophomore Elon Smallwood’s 3-pointer. The Raptors, who hit four first-half 3s, led 30-29 at halftime.
“We’re not happy with moral victories, but we’re moving in the right direction,” Whitlock said. “We had kids that stepped up and made some plays down the stretch. I like this team, but the mental stage is going to be the X-factor for us as we move forward.”
In the girls’ game, Brentwood held off Ravenwood 39-35 in OT.
Reach Michael Murphy at 259-8018 and on Twitter @Murph_TNsports.