By CAROL STUART / Franklin Home PageAsa Duvall sank a 3-pointer with 6.5 seconds left to give Brentwood an amazing first-round victory over previously unbeaten Blackman 52-49 to make Friday’s state semifinals.
Photos by ANDREW COLLIGNON for FHP
Brentwood’s venerable coach Dennis King said he couldn’t repeat what he told his team when they trailed 18 points at halftime before knocking off top-ranked and previously unbeaten Blackman to make Friday’s state semifinals. He ranked it quickly as his “best” career win ever.
Senior Asa Duvall, whose towel he hangs over his head in part set King off at halftime, sank a 3-pointer from the left corner with 6.5 seconds remaining to complete the improbable comeback, 52-49, at MTSU’s Murphy Center on Wednesday.
“He let us have it,” Duvall said of Coach King. “The main thing was ‘Is this how you want to go out?’ I thought about what it would be like to go out like that, and I didn’t like the feeling so I was going to do whatever I could to come back.”
The Bruins (30-4), extending a school record for victories, were making their first TSSAA boys state tourney appearance in the school’s 31-history. King has coached for all but a four-year hiatus, plus 11 years in his native Pennsylvania.
|Asa Duvall lofts up the winning 3-pointer in the 18-point comeback win to send Brentwood past unbeaten Blackman and into the state semifinals at 10 a.m. Friday against Southwind.|
“I can’t tell you. It was brutal and it was personal,” the always wise-cracking King said of his halftime rant while holding court in the interview room. “They’ve heard some of that before. We’ve won 30 games … there’s other years where every halftime is similar to that. But these guys have been so good … It stored up for moments like this.”
He said the victory ranked higher than wins over future NBA player Shawn Marion, current Kentucky freshman Alex Poythress and a Pennsylvnia power with a Pitt signee, Roosevelt Kirby.
“This is best,” King said. “To do it in this venue, a place where I’ve been coming for 30 years, having to pay to get in and I have my little green thing hanging from my belt – which broke. This is the best win ever.”
While Brentwood waited so long to make the state tournament, the Bruins waited until the second half to put on their usual tough defensive pressure and make shots they usually don’t miss. The Bruins were 0-of-7 on 3-pointers the first half to trail 29-11, while Blackman’s Mr. Basketball finalist Darius Thompson scored 12 of his game-high 18 points.
Duvall, who had 12 of his 15 points in the second half, tied the game up with 3:01 left on two free throws 47-47 after Brentwood battled back. Solid sophomore starting point guard James McPherson (8 assists) then gave Brentwood its first lead since 4-0 at 49-47.
Thompson, who recently de-committed from Vanderbilt, scored his only fourth-quarter points on free throws at 1:51 to tie it 49-49 before what will now be known around Brentwood as “The Shot.”
“It was a great move by James to get in the lane and kick it out, and as soon as Asa released the shot I knew it was going in,” junior Andy Schumpert said. “He’s the greatest shooter from the corner.
“I knew we had all the momentum, it was going in, we were going to win the game.”
King had called timeout with 18.1 seconds left after the Bruins ran it down from 1:08 following a Luke Pastina steal.
|The game-winning shot and celebration|
“Out of the timeout, that wasn’t really the play,” Duvall said. “James did a great job penetrating and finding me. They came out and luckily I knocked down the shot.”
McPherson said he saw the Blaze had switched to a 1-2-2 zone after the timeout and tried to penetrate and find someone open – it ended up being Duvall.
“I’ve seen that routine shot a thousand times. I figured it was going in,” McPherson said.
King said Duvall’s winning 3-pointer was a busted play that was designed for a backdoor basket.
“Nobody deserves more to have a game-winning shot on this stage than Asa Duvall,” King said of the Stetson signee, “because every fiber of his being has been dedicated to becoming a great basketball player. And sometimes I get frustrated with him because he tries to do to much and I thought he took some horrible shots, but for him to bang that one in, it’s just scripted by God.”
King not only broke his belt in the game but got rid of a quarterback-like wristband he called “a silly little thing where I script all my plays. When (Cody) Shelton went down … we’re just spreading ’em out, penetrating, creating, just play. … Gunners down 18, go to Plan B.”
The Bruins had to finish the incredible comeback without junior starting forward Jacob Adcock, who fouled out, and senior Cody Shelton, who sprained his ankle in the third quarter after battling a knee problem all season.
Brentwood outscored Blackman 23-10 to cut an 18-point lead to 39-34 going into the fourth quarter on Pastina’s 3-pointer at 1:29.
The Bruins started the third quarter with a 9-0 run to close within 29-20 and force a second timeout of the half. The run included a 3-pointer by Schumpert, a standout wide receiver in football who scored 14 points and put defensive pressure all game on the 6-4 point guard Thompson.
|Postgame interview with Bruins Coach Dennis King|
“We came out in that third quarter and obviously Jacob was in foul trouble and then Cody ended up going down,” Pastina said. “We started hitting some shots and the guys just feed off each other. One went in, and they all started falling.
“And that third quarter just kind of set the tone for the rest of the game, those first few minutes. When you see some of your teammates go down, sometimes that can just fuel the fire to even play harder.”
Duvall’s long 3 cut it to 33-27 but Blackman scored two straight baskets.
Brentwood twice closed within two points on Jack Bautista back-to-back 3s for the Bruins, 39-37 and 42-40, to begin the fourth quarter.
Quindell Cousins dunked in between the treys on a three-point play for a 42-37 Blackman lead. The Blaze pushed out ahead 47-40 on five points by Jauan Jennings before Schumpert hit another 3, Adcock scored on a putback after a Bruins steal, and Duvall tied it 47-47 on free throws after an Adcock steal.
|Postgame interviews with Bruins players|
Adcock, who made key plays including the steal and rebounding after returning, fouled out with 4:57 remaining to set up Thompson’s final free throws.
“It was tough. He’s a great rebounder, a great defender, but we have guys who stepped in and played great,” Schumpert said. “It just was collective rebounding and defense that won us that game.”
The Bruins, tentative on their shots while shooting 17.6% and scoring only three field goals the first half, had three different players hit treys in the third. Schumpert scored nine points in the quarter after scoring only two points the first half.
“It definitely probably drained Andy on defense, and we were just trying to get physical with them and stop (Thompson) from getting his smooth buckets,” McPherson said. “Andy did a great job putting it on him.”
Duvall’s drive gave Brentwood an early 2-0 lead, followed by an Adcock block, after the teams didn’t score the first couple of minutes. Then Schumpert scored on an in-bounds play for 4-0.
But Blackman went on a 13-0 run the rest of the first quarter including two straight baskets by Thompson to make it 8-4. K.J. Dowdy’s 3-pointer pushed it to 11-4, and then Thompson hit 2 of 4 foul shots for the 13-4 advantage.
Cousins made it a 15-0 spurt to start the second quarter before Duvall hit a free throw. But Thompson’s 3-pointer stretched it out to 18-5.
A Duvall baseline drive and Shelton free throws pulled Brentwood within 11 twice early in the second quarter.
But Blackman led 29-11 at the half after a 9-2 run. Thompson’s three-point play put the Blaze up 27-11 over Brentwood 1:01 before half.
“I think it just took a little bit of adjusting to get use to the whole, gym, the rim. Tt’s different going from a high school gym where you have a wall behind the rim,” Duvall said. “. . . I think we finally just settled down the second half.”
Schumpert said about the only ones who didn’t count the Bruins out at halftime were “probably all the guys in the lockerroom.
“We still believed that we could come out and win the game. . . We all put all of our effort into it and made it happen,” he said.
Brentwood, avenging a 33-point loss to Blackman early in the season right after losing starter Will Jones, will have to pull out another major upset to make Saturday’s 2 p.m. Class AAA championship game. The Bruins now take on the best Memphis team, Southwind, which has two Division I college signees, in Friday’s 10 a.m. semifinal.
“(Coach King) got advice from somebody that said be prepared for the second game because if you win the first game know you’ve gonna have a lot of emotion,” Duvall said. “I think we’ll be ready. We have a big challenge in front of us with Southwind, but that’s nothing new to us.”
King, his pants sagging from his broken belt, said Duvall’s towel “came off first” during his halftime tirade. He said he’ll lose sleep at nights over using “choice words” with a 17-year-old kid, but added:
“If it had any impact on a game of this miraculous ending, I’ll do it again Friday.”
King, who wrote a coaching book last fall called Refuse To Be Ordinary, said he now may have to put a DVD of the first-round game in the cover.
Asked how long he’ll savor the victory before turning to the next game, King took his time and said to a large chuckle: “I might give myself till 3 o’clock.”
BRENTWOOD 52, BLACKMAN 49
Thompson, Darius 6-11 5-8 18; Jennings, Jauan 4-7 4-4 13; Cousin, Quindell 3-6 1-1 7; Coleman, Justin 3-4 0-0 6; Dowdy, K.J. 1-3 2-2 5; Maher, Josh 0-0 0-0 0; Pierce, Reid 0-1 0-0 0; Henry, Debo 0-0 0-0 0; Rogan, Andrew 0-2 0-0 0; Hart, Isaiah 0-1 0-0 0; McMiller, Alec 0-2 0-2 0. Totals 17-37 12-17 49.
Duvall, Asa 5-12 3-4 15; Schumpert, Andy 5-10 2-2 14; Shelton, Cody 1-3 4-4 6; Bautista, Jack 2-2 0-0 6; Adcock, Jacob 3-7 0-0 6; Pastina, Luke 1-3 0-0 3; McPherson, James 1-1 0-0 2; Tapp, Tanner 0-0 0-0 0; Gonzalez, Elijah 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-39 9-10 52.
Blackman…………………. 13 16 10 10 – 49
Brentwood………………… 4 7 23 18 – 52
3-point goals–Blackman 3-15 (Jennings, Jauan 1-4; Dowdy, K.J. 1-3; Thompson, Darius 1-4; Rogan, Andrew 0-2; Hart, Isaiah 0-1; McMiller, Alec 0-1), Brentwood 7-20 (Schumpert, Andy 2-6; Bautista, Jack 2-2; Duvall, Asa 2-7; Pastina, Luke 1-3; Adcock, Jacob 0-1; Shelton, Cody 0-1). Fouled out–Blackman-None, Brentwood-Adcock, Jacob. Rebounds–Blackman 24 (Thompson, Darius 6), Brentwood 20 (Schumpert, Andy 6). Assists–Blackman 7 (Thompson, Darius 5), Brentwood 15 (McPherson, James 8). Total fouls–Blackman 12, Brentwood 14. Technical fouls–Blackman-None, Brentwood-None.