Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Brewster Academy wins a second straight title on more than talent

March 3, 2014 Columns No Comments

BEVERLY, Mass. – Championships are not won merely by assembling talent and rolling out the basketballs. Jason Smith already understood this well, and that was driven home again on Sunday. The good thing for the Brewster Academy head coach is that the result of it was positive, a thrilling 68-63 win over New Hampton in the NEPSAC Class AAA championship.

Brewster Academy won the Class AAA championship for the second year in a row and has now won four NEPSAC titles in the past seven seasons. While in recent years the Bobcats have annually had the most talent in Class AAA, that hasn’t always translated into a title. Talent alone doesn’t do it, and it’s not just because NEPSAC is so competitive, although Smith offered plenty of words about that after the game.

“It’s the best high school league in the country, I just wish the rest of the population would realize how great of a league this is,” said Smith, now in his 14th season leading the program. “Everyone talks about the Oak Hills, the Findlays. I would love to play them because we would kick the absolute crap out of them.”

Smith went on to say that a number of schools in Class AAA could play with those schools. His team nearly found that out the hard way on Sunday after they at times made it look easy leading up to the game, which had him worried about overconfidence. He said the team seemed to be coasting at times, as if they felt no urgent need to get better since they were winning games, including against the teams they had to play again in the tournament. Chalk that up to 14- to 18-year-olds being, well, 14- to 18-year-olds, in part, and let that be an example of why coaching plays a role.

New Hampton scored the game’s first nine points and ran out to a 23-7 lead. Colorado-bound Tory Miller (6’8″ Sr. PF, Lees Summit (MO)) was abusing Brewster’s post players inside for baskets, while Elijah Bryant (6’4″ Sr. SG, Braselton (GA)) was the best player on the floor in the first half as he scored all 16 of his points in that frame. For good measure, Syracuse-bound Tyler Lydon (6’8″ Jr. SF-PF, Elizaville (NY)) was hitting three-pointers and even scoring inside. Brewster slowly rallied, then picked up steam with about six minutes to go in the half. New Hampton still never gave up the lead in the opening frame.

In fact, New Hampton kept the lead until a post basket by Georgetown signee Isaac Copeland (6’9″ Sr. SF-PF, Raleigh (NC)) gave Brewster a 55-54 lead with 6:02 left. The Huskies then looked like they were in trouble, as the psychological blow of losing a lead they had all game seemed to hit them.

The biggest difference was better defense, although at times New Hampton broke through pretty well. Miller got more baskets when they got the ball to him, but Bryant and Lydon were quiet in the second half. A big key with the former was MVP Donovan Mitchell (6’3″ So. SG, Greenwich (CT)). While Mitchell’s 15 points, including four big free throws, would stand out at first glance, he had a big hand in defending Bryant in the second half and also had a key steal in the final seconds.

As talented as he is, Mitchell might have seemed an unlikely hero back in September. He certainly looked like someone with plenty of potential, but he was in a whole new setting and had some growing pains.

“He’s a totally different kid now,” said Jared Terrell (6’3″ Sr. SG, Weymouth (MA)), who scored 14 points. “He was this out of control kid taking wild shots because he was coming from a school where he could do that. He had to change his game a bit, and he’s done that.”

Smith is well-versed in the challenges of coaching a group of very talented players by now, especially with the vast majority being there for just one year. He has a great feel for his team and demands a lot from them, and knows that in their youth they don’t always understand the urgency of many things just yet. He knew what he was up against with his team on Sunday, and while he wouldn’t mind being wrong about it, he won’t complain about another championship.

Comment on this Article:







Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville

Advertisement


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – August 17, 2017

August 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we check in with some good news from a few teams overseas after a big scare, plus a big addition for a championship contender, a conference on the rise, and a great coach thinking about a return to the bench.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about the NBA Draft, of course, but spend much more time on the happenings at Ohio State and Louisville and the implications starting next season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – May 17, 2017

May 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we start with the NBA Draft Lottery, then talk about a big pickup for Duke, important transfers, the coaching carousel winding down and much more.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 27, 2017

April 27, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, the business of college sports, as well as that of sports media, takes center stage. We talk about the layoffs at ESPN, college basketball’s opening night, and Wichita State’s departure from the Missouri Valley Conference. We close with thoughts on a departed friend of the media business as well.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 11, 2017

April 11, 2017 by

In our first off-season edition, we look back on the season that just ended, including redemption for one team and a big development for a conference that has had more questions than success on the hardwood. We also look at players coming and going, as well as big coaching news on a day where there was a lot of it.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.