Led by senior duo, Brentwood boys surge into first place

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Sunday, February 7, 2021 | 11:17 AM


The Brentwood boys basketball team flourished in January, posting a 7-1 record, including a perfect 5-0 run in Section 4-3A.

The Spartans ended the month on a five-game winning streak, including a key 55-54 section win Jan. 29 at home against Washington, ranked fourth in Class 3A.

“This team plays real well together,” coach Dan Thayer said. “We have been playing 10 guys in most of the games. By doing that, we have put a lot of different combinations on the court.

“The guys really understand their strengths and weaknesses as players and try to capitalize on their strengths. It has been fun watching the guys improve each and every day. To see them start to become a more complete team is very satisfying.”

Brentwood’s leading scorer is 5-foot-10 senior guard Chase Rosing with an 18 points per game average. He is complemented in the backcourt by 5-8 junior guard Nate Ziegler.

On the boards, the team is propelled by 6-4 senior forward Riley Brendel, plus a pair of sophomores in 6-2 Tavian Miller and 6-1 Talan Kammermeier. Brendel pulls down a team-leading 8 rebounds per game.

Against Washington, Rosing connected on a game-winning 3-pointer with 3.2 seconds remaining. He finished with 18 points. Miller and Brendel added 14 and 10.

“Chase and Riley have been very strong, and that was expected,” Thayer said. “Nate has had a real solid season shooting the ball and continues to get better and better as a basketball player.”

Miller averages 11.4 ppg to rank second on the team in scoring.

“Tavian has really elevated his game and has been real solid,” Thayer said.

Key reserves for the Spartans include sophomore Carter Betz, freshman Zach Wuenschell and juniors Daly Dalton, Mitchell Fox and Brady Fest.

“We are starting to play well,” Thayer said. “This is an inexperienced team at the varsity level, so we figured the development would take time. We have come on a little quicker than expected, led by our two seniors. The team has really worked hard to get better on both offense and defense.

“We are just trying to improve each day. This team can get a lot better as we get ready for the playoffs. We want to cut down on the mistakes, continue to play fast, get better defensively and really start to play complete games.”

Brentwood girls roll

The Brentwood girls basketball team has enjoyed fast starts in recent history.

The Spartans’ 8-0 record in the first month of the 2020-21 season ranks with the best of them.

It’s the team’s hottest start since 2013-14, when Brentwood opened up 10-0 on its way to a 25-7 record.

“I am very happy with the way our girls have started off this season,” coach Rachel Thomas said. “They are working hard every day and showing improvement. I knew we had a lot of talent and expected to be very competitive. The girls have worked hard to be where we are at this point. I definitely believe we can compete for the section (championship).

“These girls continue to push themselves and each other daily. We look forward to a successful rest of the season, which will propel us into the playoffs.”

Brentwood also jumped out to 7-0 records in 2016-17 and 2017-18 before finishing 17-6 and 18-8.

On the opposite end, the 2018-19 squad closed out the regular season with 11 consecutive wins en route to the WPIAL finals, a PIAA second-round appearance and a 20-5 overall mark.

This year’s team, a member of Section 3-3A, is a blend of youth and senior guidance.

“This team has speed, which has helped create offensive opportunities off our transition play,” Thomas said. “Our core players all have the capacity to score in double digits, which makes it difficult for our opponents to defend. We are a very unselfish team, often passing one or two more times than needed.”

Paige Miller and Taylor Davis, both returning senior starters, and junior guard Maura Daly, another returning starter, have been joined in the lineup by junior guard Bella Grimm and freshman point guard Mallory Daly.

Miller is a 6-foot senior forward. Davis a 5-4 senior guard.

The biggest influence on the team’s early season success has been the influx of three freshmen onto the varsity roster, particularly the 5-7 Mallory Daly, a sharpshooting backcourt whiz and the team’s leading scorer.

Mallory Daly regularly scores in the 20-point range and netted a season-high 33 points in a 59-47 section win Jan. 27 against Steel Valley.

Through the first eight games of her high school career, Mallory Daly ranked in the top 10 in WPIAL scoring, averaging 22 points per game.

Freshman forward Mia March is a leading reserve for the Spartans, as are sophomore guard Jenna Lee and junior guard Cecilia Foley, while Bobbie Wardzinski, a freshman guard, is gaining more playing time each week.

Maura Daly, Mallory’s older sister and third-year varsity player, provides a solid inside presence along with a deft shooting touch.

“I think we have been performing well,” Maura Daly said. “We’re really learning each other’s strengths and weaknesses so we can work better as a team. We are really good at ball movement and shot selection, and another contribution to our success is our defense.

“I am excited to play with my (younger) sister for the next two years. I think we work together really well and can both be co-leaders for the team. I want to step up and be the vocal leader that our team needs.”

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