Ensworth scored the first basket in Saturday’s TSSAA boys Division II-AA state championship game, but 1:08 later that lead was gone and the Tigers would never regain it.
Brentwood Academy answered Ensworth’s opening bucket with a 3-pointer from junior Jeremiah Oatsvall and cruised to an 82-49 triumph and its second consecutive state title at Lipscomb’s Allen Arena.
“We had our shooters shooting shots,” Brentwood Academy coach Hubie Smith said. “We locked them down and they had trouble scoring the whole game.”
The Eagles (29-3) got out to a 20-11 lead after the first quarter thanks to a pair of 3-pointers from Oatsvall and led Ensworth (23-6) at halftime 32-20.
Brentwood Academy outscored the Tigers 18-13 in the third quarter to push its lead to 50-33, and things only got worse for Ensworth. The Tigers finished just 2-of-18 from 3-point range, an 11.1 percent clip, and converted 11 fewer baskets than the Eagles, despite putting up five more shots.
“When you can’t put it in the hole, that’s a problem,” Ensworth coach Ricky Bowers said. “We just unfortunately had one of those days.”
Brentwood Academy played its best basketball late to secure the sixth title in program history.
“We closed them down in the fourth because of our depth,” sophomore Mr. Basketball finalist Darius Garland said. “When we wear them down with our defense we get wide-open layups.”
Garland finished with 18 points and four assists, while fellow Mr. Basketball finalist Jordan Bone, a Tennessee signee, posted a team-high 15 points for the Tigers.
Oatsvall led the way for the Eagles, posting a game-high 20 points, and picking up his second straight tournament MVP honor.
“When you have the big crowd and the big lights it’s always a motive to step up your game” Oatsvall said. “It was fun. I like playing in big games.”
He said it also didn’t hurt that Saturday’s win came over one of Brentwood Academy’s biggest rivals.
“It’s always bigger when it’s Ensworth,” he added. “When you know each kid by name it’s easy to get up for and it’s easy to get pumped for.”
Reach Sam Brown at 615-259-8232 and on Twitter @SamBrownTN.