Wright Wins MVP; Brentwood Takes Title

BRISTOL, Tenn.--It didn't come easy, but MVP Brandan Wright and the Brentwood Academy Eagles outlasted Wayne Chism and the Bolivar Tigers 60-52 to take the Arby's Classic Championship

Brentwood claimed its second tournament title nine days after taking the City of Palms Tournament against a national field in Florida.

"It would have been a waste to go down there and defeat such talented teams and then to come up here and lose…" said Wright. "This was our eighth game in 14 days. It's going to feel good to get some rest. Losing in this tournament would have left a sour taste in our mouths. It was nip-and-tuck in the first and third [quarters], but we put it away in the fourth because of our depth."

Wright struck first with a jump shot from the perimeter with a toe on the three-point line, and then Chism one-upped him from behind the arc, the first of four 3-pointers on the game.

"He backed off in the lane," said Chism, "and I got my confidence up to shoot the shot… He was sagging off. It didn't seem like he respected my jumper, so I had to prove to him that I could shoot the ball."

"I was impressed with the way he was knocking down the long three's," said Wright. "He was trying to take the ball off the dribble. I was impressed with his overall game."

With Wright trying to stay within guarding distance of Chism on the perimeter, Bolivar was able to attack the basket without the resistance Wright normally provides in the middle. Without Wright patrolling the lane, good team defense was able to keep Bolivar in the rear view mirror 30-27 at the half after Chism hit a half-court 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Wright finished the half with 10 points (5-10 FG). He had more success facing the basket, moving without the ball, and scoring in transition, but he struggled when the thicker Chism bodied him up, getting two shots blocked and shooting an air ball in close.

"Some nights it's just not going down with your back to the basket, so you have to face up and try to do a few more things," said Wright. "Tonight I was better facing up, but on another night I might be better with the jump hook or the turn-around jumper."

Chism had 12 points at the break, and Brentwood head coach, George Pitts, gave Wright two keys at the half.

"We talked at half-time about how I didn't want him shooting outside anymore," said Pitts. "I wanted him inside to try to shot fake a little bit [on offense] and to try to keep [Chism] off the glass on the other end. That's where he stepped up and did much better."

Wright obliged. He began the half moving without the ball, with a catch and lay-up on the left block, and he immediately began going to the boards, corralling seven for the half.

In spite of the difficulty he had in the post against Chism in the first half, he continued to attack inside on offense. Wright struggled from the line, hitting only three in nine attempts, but the fouls began to mount against Bolivar's top player who played in a limited capacity in the fourth quarter with four fouls, which allowed Wright to control the paint.

Wright finished with 21 points (9-17 FG, 3-9 FT, nine rebounds, two assists, two blocks, two steals and seven turnovers. Chism finished with 20 and 11 in points and rebounds, respectively. The two stars neutralized each other with Brentwood's size and depth providing the difference in the final score. Joshua Bone, John Garrett, and Brian Wright combined for 32 points for Brentwood, while Bolivar's next three leading scorers combined for only 25.

"I walked out on the floor in warm-ups, and I didn't realize they were that big," said Rudesill. "They are some big kids. We really only played six kids, with a seventh for a minute or so. I think we wore down physically, hoping we were on the road more than we were."

After a season-opening one-point loss, Brentwood Academy has now won 13 consecutive games.

Brandan Wright

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