One of the oldest sayings in sports reads that it is hard to beat a good team three times in the same season. Now the Brentwood School girls varsity basketball team is hoping that adage holds true when it plays arch rival Campbell Hall for the CIF Southern Section Division 4A championship on Wednesday at 3 p.m. at the Anaheim Convention Center.
The teams faced off twice during Alpha League competition and Campbell Hall won both tiimes, so Wednesday's final is a chance at redemption for the Eagles (21-8), who finished fourth in the league behind Windward (which is in the 4AA finals), Sierra Canyon (which lost in the 4AA quarterfinals to Chaminade) and Campbell Hall.
Seeded No. 3, Brentwood has won six straight games, including playoff victories over Kern Valley, Whittier Christian, St. Monica, and a 49-41 semifinal upset of No. 2-seeded St. Paul. Campbell Hall (20-6) is the No. 1 seed and has won each of its four playoff games by wide margins. The Vikings defeated Brentwood by scores of 67-44 and 53-41 in league play.
In the first meeting Jan. 10 at Brentwood, the Eagles trailed by eight points heading into the fourth quarter, but Campbell Hall closed the game with a 20-5 run. Sophomore center Kennedy Martin had 22 points and sophomore point guard Drew Cabral added 11 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists, seven blocks and six steals for the home team.
In the second meeting Jan. 27 in North Hollywood, Martin led Brentwood again with 14 points and nine rebounds, Cabral had 12 points, 14 rebounds and four assists and Sammie Schlessel added 11 points as the Eagles fell behind 31-24 at halftime.
Brentwood averages 50.1 points and 39.5 rebounds per game. Martin is the Eagles' scoring leader at 17.3 points per game, followed by Cabral (10.1) and Schlessel (6.3). Martin grabs 11.0 rebounds per contest and Cabral is first in assists (6.7) and steals (5.4).
Coach Charles Solomon's squad lost to Villanova Prep 48-45 in the first round of the Division 5AA playoffs last season after moving to the Alpha League from the Olympic League.
After finishing fourth in the Alpha League, the Eagles advanced all the way to the quarterfinals of the Division 4A playoffs in Coach Ryan Bailey's first season. Brentwood routed California Military Institute 82-38 in the first round and San Marino 76-54 in the second round before falling 55-54 to second-seeded Ontario Christian.
The Eagles (15-11) were led by co-captains Leland King and Tra Holder. Pacific Hills, which tied Windward for the first place in league, is the top seed and plays for the 4A crown at the Anaheim Convention Center Thursday at 3 p.m. against third-seeded Cantwell Sacred Heart.