After sweeping the Division II-AA basketball championships a season ago, the Brentwood Academy boys and girls appear poised to do the same this season.
For that to happen, a pair of stellar sophomores will need to come through on the state’s biggest stage.
The Eagles and Lady Eagles will play in Friday’s semifinals at Lipscomb University, and look for sophomores Darius Garland and Sydni Harvey to shoulder the load.
Garland, a Mr. Basketball finalist and the Division II-AA East/Middle Region MVP, scored 12 points in last season’s 58-55 state championship win over Christian Brothers, and the 5-foot-11 point guard has only improved during his sophomore campaign.
Brentwood Academy faces McCallie at 11:30 a.m. Friday.
“He’s played fantastic,” Brentwood Academy coach Hubie Smith said. “He takes a lot of games over. He’s a really special player and he’s had a terrific year in so many ways.”
Garland is a five-star prospect in the class of 2018 who has received offers from Vanderbilt, Louisville, Memphis, Tennessee, Arizona State, Baylor and Virginia. He is averaging a team-leading 18.8 points, 4.2 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 2.5 steals and is shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc.
Harvey, a Miss Basketball finalist and East/Middle Region MVP, hasn’t taken a step back during her sophomore campaign, either.
Her statistics — 12.4 points and 2.3 assists per game — aren’t quite as impressive as Garland’s, but there’s no question that the Lady Eagles run through Harvey.
She’s far from the team’s only scoring threat, though, as Bri Jackson, Makaila Wilson and Bria Dial are also scoring in double figures.
“She’s capable of taking over a game, but so are the other ones,” Lady Eagles coach Rhonda Brown said. “If you just try guard her, which is fairly difficult in itself, the others usually find a way to pick it up.”
Harpeth Hall, coming off a 56-33 win over Briarcrest, will take on Brentwood Academy on Friday at 1:15 p.m.
The Ensworth boys will play Christian Brothers at 2:45 p.m.
DII-A boys: When Mr. Basketball finalist Kenny Cooper of Franklin Road Academy closes out his high school career this week, the 6-foot guard won’t have to wait long to return.
“Hopefully I cant start it off right there,” said Cooper, a Lipscomb signee. “Hopefully we can pull out two wins before I move on to college.”
The Panthers (24-8), coming off a 72-62 victory over St. George’s, struggled to an 8-6 start before reeling off 15 straight wins en route to a second straight DII-A East/Middle District 2 championship.
FRA will take on Lausanne in Thursday’s 2:45 p.m. semifinal.
DII-A girls: East/Middle Region champion Ezell-Harding (27-4) will take on two-time defending champion Knoxville Webb in Thursday’s 10 a.m. semifinal. Region runnerup FRA (27-4) will square off with Northpoint Christian at 1:15 p.m.
Ezell-Harding, led by senior guard Marci Sneed, dropped both regular-season games to FRA, finishing second in DII-A East/Middle District 2. However, the Lady Eagles have reeled off seven straight victories, which includes wins over the Lady Panthers in the district and region championships.
Division II state tournament schedule
Girls: Ezell-Harding vs. Knoxville Webb, 10 a.m.
Boys: Knoxville Webb vs. Harding Academy, 11:30 p.m.
Girls: FRA vs. Northpoint Christian, 1:15 p.m.
Boys: FRA vs. Lausanne, 2:45 p.m.
Girls: St. Benedict vs. Baylor, 10 a.m.
Boys: Brentwood Acad. vs. McCallie, 11:30 a.m.
Girls: Brentwood Acad. vs. Harpeth Hall, 1:15 p.m.
Boys: Ensworth vs. Christian Brothers, 2:45 p.m.
Girls: DII-A championship, 1 p.m.
Boys: DII-A championship, 3 p.m.
Girls: DII-AA championship, 5:30 p.m.
Boys: DII-AA championship, 7:30 p.m.