Brentwood’s Ziegler reaches scoring milestone

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Friday, February 14, 2020 | 7:46 PM


C.J. Ziegler recently enlisted in an exclusive club at Brentwood.

Prior to this season, only 10 boys basketball players had attained 1,000 career points. Ziegler joined that posh group.

The 5-foot-11 senior guard logged his 1,000th career point Jan. 24 in a 67-52 section win at Carmichaels. He finished with 27 points that night.

“I’ve always wanted to score 1,000, but it really only became a goal at the beginning of the season when I realized it was achievable,” Ziegler said. “I’d like to thank my team and coaches who helped me get 1,000. It couldn’t have been done without them.”

Ziegler joined Walt Sokac (1982), Bobby Zovko (’82), Eric Campana (’83), Bill Vernau (’85), Dave Mislan (’89), Ed Bartek (’90), Joe Duttine (’84), Josh Taylor (2006), David Sexauer (’10) and Jason Pilarski (’13) as the Spartans’ 1,000-point scorers.

A sharp-shooting backcourt standout who is quick to the hoop, Ziegler is a four-year starter.

“C.J. has had a great year,” Brentwood coach Dan Thayer said. “He has been a really good scorer for us the last two seasons. He also does a lot of the ball handling for this team.

“C.J. is an excellent shooter, but he is also very good at finding ways into the lane where he is great at finishing.”

Under Thayer’s guidance, the Spartans have gone from 4-16 to 8-13 to 11-12 to 15-5 this season with two regular-season games remaining. They will make their third straight WPIAL playoff appearance.

“As we’ve begun to rebuild the program, C.J. has been a consistent force for us day in and day out,” said Thayer, a business and computer teacher in the Baldwin-Whitehall School District. “He is not a vocal leader, but he is a leader in how he prepares. C.J. is at all the offseason workouts. He practices hard every day. He always tries to praise his teammates.

“He has been a great basketball player for us, and more importantly, a great person.”

Ziegler has younger twin brothers on the Brentwood squad, Nathan and Josh, both sophomore guards. His older sister, Layni, is a Seton LaSalle graduate who is studying nursing at Mount Union as a sophomore guard on the women’s basketball team.

Brentwood has strung together two impressive winning streaks this season, starting 10-0 before losing four games in January, followed by five consecutive wins that wrapped up a playoff berth.

“We lost four tough games in the middle of the schedule,” Thayer said, “but I think we’ve had a very good second half to the season. We didn’t play or shoot real well in those (four losses), and that prevented us from pulling them out.

“After getting through that stretch, we have been playing a lot better.”

Brentwood’s starting lineup consists of five seniors: Ziegler and Zach Keib at guard, Jayneil Latham-Mason at guard/forward, and John Milcic and Ian Thomas at forward.

The Spartans are brimming with talent, as Thayer has rotated as many as nine or 10 players this season.

Juniors Chase Rosing (G) and Riley Brendel (F), seniors A.J. McPherson (G/F) and Shane Lesko (G), freshman Tavian Miller (F), along with the Ziegler twins, are leading reserves.

C.J. Ziegler (18 ppg) and Keib (12 ppg) are the team’s top two scorers, and Rosing leads in assists.

Thomas and Latham pace the Spartans on the boards. Keib ranks first in the steals department.

“This has been a great season for Brentwood basketball,” Thayer said. “We still have a lot of improvements we need to make and really haven’t played our best basketball yet.”

The veteran floor boss likes his team’s chances in the upcoming playoffs and is optimistic for the future of Brentwood basketball.

“We have seen some great individual improvements throughout the season, which is very encouraging,” Thayer said. “Our JV team, with primarily sophomores and freshmen, has been having an excellent season.

“We are real excited with the direction of Brentwood basketball.”

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