A hot start powered the Montgomery Bell Academy Big Red's offense and carried them to victory over the Brentwood Academy Eagles in the D-II AA state championship at Tennessee Tech Saturday night, 72-51.
It's MBA's first state title since 2010.
“They (MBA) played well, shot the ball well, and defended well,” said Brentwood Academy head coach Matt Hoppe. “All credit goes to them; they played a fantastic game.”
“It is the culmination for a group that felt like it had the ability to do this,” said MBA head coach Kevin Anglin. “We have been working toward it for several years, so it is obviously a great feeling to accomplish that.”
In the first quarter, Brentwood Academy was able to get baskets in the paint from junior DJ Senter, freshman Tyler Tanner and junior Trent McNair, but still fell short at the end of the frame, 22-15.
MBA began to find their groove in the second quarter with 3-pointers and jumpers by senior Will Montana, sophomore Marcel Reed, junior Jackson Francis and senior Miles Versa to extend their lead, 42-28.
In the third quarter, the Big Red continued to surge in the paint and from downtown with baskets by Montana, sophomore Joshua Roberts, Francis and Versa to stretch the deficit to 56-37.
The offensive clinic continued in the fourth quarter for MBA with long-range shots and midrange jumpers by Montana, Francis and Versa to win their seventh state title in school history, 72-51.
MBA held the Eagles offense to 51 points.
“I think we competed well and played hard,” said Coach Anglin. “I don’t think we played perfectly in terms of executing what we wanted, and they probably were not as sharp tonight as they were yesterday.”
The Big Red’s leading scorers were state tournament MVP Will Montana with 25 points, Jackson Francis with 13 and Joshua Roberts and state tournament team member Miles Versa with 10 each.
“Balance has been our calling card all year,” said Coach Anglin. “It is what makes us hard to play against when we are playing well. We have multiple people that can contribute.”
BA’s point leaders were McNair with 17, Sutton with 12 and Moss with 10.
“I think those guys and all of our players did a good job of attacking the basket,” said Coach Hoppe. “We didn’t shoot the ball well tonight at all. Our guys did a good job of attacking the paint and rim, getting fouls or easy baskets. Unfortunately, the ball was not dropping for us tonight.”
Brentwood Academy will look to regroup and work to get back in this position next year.
“We were pretty young this year, starting a freshman and having four sophomores and four juniors,” said Coach Hoppe. “Just the experience of playing in these kind of games against an experienced MBA team in the finals, and playing a really good Christian Brothers team in the semis was good for our guys. We are not satisfied with second. I told our guys after the game, we either win or we learn, so we can learn a lot from this weekend for next year.”
MBA will celebrate their success this season and work to build upon it for next year.
“We won’t have the same group back next year, but we will have some good players back and a nucleus of a very competitive team,” said Coach Anglin.