Trib HSSN boys basketball team of the week — Week ending Jan. 4, 2020

Monday, January 6, 2020 | 9:58 PM

Last year, the Brentwood boys basketball team finished with a .500 record in both Section 2-2A and overall. The Spartans finished the regular season in fourth place with a 6-6 record and an 11-11 mark for the season.

“Last year, we finished .500, but there were a number of games that we could have easily won,” Brentwood fourth-year coach Dan Thayer said. “Our lack of experience really cost us.”

Now, Brentwood is tied for first place with Serra Catholic at 4-0, and more impressively, the Spartans have won all nine of their games.

“We graduated one player last season and returned 15,” Thayer said. “The added experience has helped us immensely. We have been able to remain calm and focused. Also, we play with a confidence that we didn’t possess last season.”

Did Thayer see this kind of start before the first game was played last month?

“We thought we could be pretty good,” he said. “But we had a lot of questions at the start of the season. We weren’t sure if our bench was going to be a strength, if we were able to defend at a high level and how would we handle pressure situations.”

So far, so good for the Spartans as they began 2020 last week with a section road victory at Chartiers-Houston, 64-56.

“Chartiers-Houston game was a great win for us,” Thayer said. We have had a lot of success at home, but have struggled on the road. We didn’t play particularly well offensively but got some key stops on defense and got big shots from a couple of different players down the stretch.

“That game was a total team win with four guys in double figures and eight guys scoring. We had 17 points off the bench.”

The four with double-figure points were seniors Zach Keib with 16, C.J. Ziegler with 13, Jayneil Latham with 11 and junior Chase Rosing with 10.

For the season, Ziegler leads the Spartans with 19 points per game while Keib averages 14 points per game. Latham and senior John Milcic have done the heavy lifting on the glass as the two lead the team in rebounding.

The Chartiers-Houston win was the latest section victory. Brentwood’s first section win was a big one over perennial power Jeannette.

“That gave us a great start,” Thayer said. “We were pretty confident going into that game. That game made us play differently than we had early in the season. It also taught us a little about finishing games.”

The Spartans will be challenged this week as they visit California (1-2, 5-5) on Tuesday before hosting Serra Catholic (4-0, 5-5) in a first-place showdown Friday.

“We need to be a little more efficient on offense,” Thayer said. “We haven’t shot the ball real well offensively lately. We feel like we have played well defensively and are getting better, but the rebounding must improve.

“To win both of these games, we are going to have to play at a very high level.”

Previous Trib HSSN Teams of the Week:

Week 2 – Bishop Canevin Crusaders

Week 1 – South Allegheny Gladiators


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