A lot of the heavy lifting was done by Brentwood’s “Big 3” all season, but their advancement to the Class AAA state tournament was truly a team effort.
Clutch free throw shooting and a huge lift from junior guard Chloe Wampler helped propel the Lady Bruins to a 44-38 win over the Beech Lady Buccaneers in their Class AAA sectional game Saturday evening at Brentwood High School.
Wampler was the surprise star of the night, hitting three three-pointers en route to a game high 15 points. The junior rose to the occasion on a night when senior star Delaney Trushel was held scoreless and junior playmaker Amelia Osgood (7 points) was held to single digits and reduced to spectator after following out with 1:06 to go in the fourth quarter.
“That’s what we kind of prepared for, going into the regionals and even the districts,” Brentwood head coach Myles Thrash told Home Page. “We call them ‘The Others’. Everyone is going to game plan for “The Big 3” (Osgood, Delaney Trushel and Emily Trushel), so 'The Others' got to do more. Everyone is going to game plan for those three, as they should.
“We wanted to make sure 'The Others' were in position where they could be more successful. The last several practices were focused on those guys.”
Wampler fully embraced the concept of staying ready to make sure she didn’t have to get ready. The junior guard confessed to a pre-game morning workout consisting of taking 1,000 shots at home prior to arriving on campus.
“It took me a couple of hours.” Wampler confirmed of the length and also of the shot count, which was marked by a shooting gun. “I probably made something like 575 shots. Not the best percentage, but I made them count in the game.”
While it came down to a team effort, the game began similar to any other this season for Brentwood—with its star player putting the ball in the basket.
Osgood scored the first five points on the night before visiting Beech managed to shut down her offense for the rest of the night.
The junior standout found other ways to contribute, similar to her well-rounded performance in Brentwood’s win over Page to claim the Region 6-AAA championship earlier in the week.
A pass from Osgood to Kate Workman (4 points) gave the Lady Bruins a 9-6 lead after one, creating a cushion following three pointers by sophomore Bree Ellis (6 points) and freshman Bella Crowe (10 points).
Not even home court advantage could guarantee that everything would go the Lady Bruins’ way. Beech senior post Deshiya Hoosier scored on the first possession of the second quarter, engineering a 10-0 run for the Lady Buccaneers before Brentwood sophomore swing Kaitlyn Lorenzi (4 points) scored off an offensive rebound from a missed three pointer by Delaney Trushel to momentarily stop the bleeding.
Four throws by senior Emily Trushel (13 points, 6/6 free throws) bookended a clutch three by Wampler to pull Brentwood within two after falling behind 16-9. Beech responded with a 5-0 run to close the half, punctuated by Hoosier swiping an errant past and driving the length of the court to give the Lady Buccaneers a 23-18 lead after two quarters of play.
That’s when the high-flying Lady Bruins remembered that defense can win ball games.
“It was just about making some defensive adjustments and spacing out our offense,” Osgood said of Brentwood’s drastic momentum swing coming out of the locker room for the second half of play. “It helped everyone get open looks.”
Brentwood muted Beech’s offense, holding the visiting Lady Bucs to just three points. It took a few minutes for the Lady Bruins to find its own offense, with a three by Wampler coming with 5:27 to go in the quarter for the first points in the second half by either team.
Hoosier responded two plays later to once again put Beech ahead by five, before Brentwood rattled off a 10-0 run including six from Emily Trushel over that span, playing perhaps her best ball of the postseason on what was the last ever home game for her twin sister and herself.
“it’s a great feeling,” Emily Trushel said both of her performance and her team advancing to next week’s state tournament. “To do this in my senior year, I couldn’t ask for teammates to do this with. It was pretty stressful, I had a lot of dumb turnovers, but we kept encouraging each other and worked through it.”
Beech responded with a 5-0 run to start the fourth quarter, aided in part by Osgood having to sit out for more than two minutes after picking up her fourth foul. A basket by Hoosier out of a timeout tied the game at 31, only for Emily Trushel and Wampler to drain back-to-back threes to put the Lady Bruins ahead by six.
Beech sought to respond, only for a missed three pointer by Hoosier to transition to a fast break basket for Wampler to give Brentwood its largest lead of the game, up 39-31 with 2:45 to go.
It was just the cushion that Brentwood needed, as they would be without Osgood less than two minutes later. The junior guard suffered her third offensive foul of the night and fifth overall in the game, limiting her role to bench supporter for the final 76 seconds.
“It was very difficult to sit on the bench after fouling out in the fourth,” admitted Osgood. “They played amazing, and it was the least position I wanted to be in helping my teammates to win. But my teammates stepped up huge today to pull out that win. I’m just so happy to be going to state.”
Between Osgood fouling out and Delaney Trushel being held scoreless—including her missing the front end of a one-and-one after Brentwood went 10/10 from the line to that point—it could have been a recipe for disaster on any other night.
On this particular evening, it was a reminder of just how deep extends the Lady Bruins’ roster as does their talent. Delaney Trushel pulled down two crucial rebounds late in the game, along with taking a charge deep in the low post to give Brentwood the ball while clinging to a five-point lead.
“They are so much more than just scorers,” Thrash said of Osgood and the Trushel twins. “Delaney found so many other ways to contribute (on Saturday). Of course, we didn’t want her to not score, but we’ll take it in a win anytime.”
Wampler and Lorenzi scored Brentwood’s final five points, with Lorenzi coming off the bench after Emily Trushel fouled out following a double technical after a brief non-threatening exchange with Crowe. By that point, there were just 2.7 seconds left on the clock, quickly winding down to 0:00 and the Lady Bruins advancing to the state tournament for the first time since 2013.
“It’s such a great feeling. I’ve been there as a player, but my first time as a coach,” noted Thrash. “Chloe can get into a zone and she’s just dangerous. She did it against Ravenwood last year but we just didn’t advance. This time we did. She stepped up big for us. I saw it in her eyes.”
The win advances Brentwood’s record to 29-2. The mark was accompanied by a 25-game win streak after losing its season opener, along with going a perfect 16-0, during regular season conference play. Brentwood suffered its first loss in nearly three months, coming at an awful time as they fell just short to the Page Lady Patriots in the District 11-AAA championship.
Four straight wins have followed, including a revenge-fueled win over Page in the Region 6-AAA championship on Thursday.
Two night later came by far their most important win of the 2019-20 season, one that extends a dream year all the way to Murfreesboro, with Middle Tennessee State University’s Murphy Center —also known as ‘The Glass House’—playing host to at least their next game, and hopefully the next three.
The team will find out its first-round opponent and when they'll play after draws are made Sunday afternoon by the TSSAA.
“Best feeling. I’m so excited to be going to state,” notes Osgood, who was named Region 6-AAA tournament MVP. “This is what we’ve been working on forever. To finally accomplish this, man, it’s the best feeling in the world.
“Playing in atmospheres like that in order to prepare for where we’re going next, it’s something you can only dream of but, man, it’s such a great feeling.”