Brentwood boys basketball team edges Apollo-Ridge in WPIAL 1st round

Saturday, February 15, 2020 | 6:45 PM

Brentwood’s Chase Rosing may not have started the game, but that does not mean attending fans will forget his performance.

The 5-foot junior guard came off the bench in the second quarter, giving the 10th-seeded Spartans a much-needed jolt in a 57-53 WPIAL Class 2A first-round victory over No. 7 Apollo-Ridge on Saturday at Fox Chapel.

Rosing produced a team-high 17 points with seven points each in the second and third quarters.

“Rosing should probably start, but (we start five seniors and) it works better that way. He likes it that way,” Spartans coach Dan Thayer said of his playmaker.

“It gives us a feel for the game. We thought we could spread the defenders out and go for the basket, but we waited until he came in and a little after that even. Once we did, we went to nothing else.”

Brentwood (18-5) trailed 11-4 early in the second quarter, before Rosing was put into the game after seniors Jayneil Mason-Latham and John Milcic each committed two early fouls that caused coach Dan Thayer to use his bench.

The team had as many as four guards on the court at a time.

Thayer’s decisions payed off as Rosing, A.J. McPherson and Riley Brendel combined for 12 points off the bench in the second period to keep Brentwood within one at halftime.

The Spartans owned a 35-33 lead after the third quarter.

McPherson finished with 11 points, and senior guard C.J. Ziegler finished with 16, including six fourth-quarter free throws to seal the win.

Apollo-Ridge (16-7) was led by 25 points from Jake Fello with 14 coming in the fourth period. The Vikings lead reached 19-10 in the second after a three-point play by 6-4 Klayton Fitzroy.

Brentwood scored 13 of the next 16 points, including an 8-0 run.

“We got into a rhythm and got some shots off (in the first half), but we had a tough time matching up with the small guards Brentwood has,” Vikings coach Greg Fox said. “They were penetrating and got some layups off of it, and we had a hard time defending that.”

“(We could have played) better 1-on-1 defense. They spread out and force you to do that. We just did not have as many quick guys as they do.”

Fitzroy had 14 points along with 10 from Keighton Reese, including three 3-pointers.

With only one senior on this year’s team and with Fox in his second year of his second stint at Apollo-Ridge, the coach expects his program to improve.

“It’s a process. Last year, we made a nice leap from the year before and another leap this year,” he said. “We bring back the (whole roster, excluding senior Braden Astolos), so we have high expectations for next year.”

Robert Scott III is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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