Brentwood Academy Lady Eagles finish second in state tourney


Brentwood Academy Lady Eagles finish second in state tourney

STORY BY CHIP CIRILLO | PHOTOS BY WHITNEY JARRELD

Brentwood Academy was just over two minutes away from repeating as state champion.

Then it all slipped away.

Ensworth rallied with a 16-1 run during the final 2:04 to win the Division II-AA girls title with a 48-42 victory over BA at Allen Arena on Saturday.

“I just think we lost our composure,” BA coach Rhonda Brown said. “Take away those last couple of minutes and things probably go a different way. You’ve just got to finish.”

BA (24-5) led 41-32 before Ensworth (29-2) roared back to win its fifth state championship.

Dontavia Waggoner, the tournament MVP, scored 10 of the 16 points during the run.

The 6-foot-1 Miss Basketball finalist finished with 21 points and eight rebounds.

“We just outhustled them at the end of the game and we played more composed,” Waggoner said. “We were not tired at the end.”

Waggoner scored the first seven points of the run, capped by a foul shot that cut the lead to 41-39 with 1:10 left.

Four seconds later, Millie Brown’s free throw increased BA’s lead to 42-39 to set up Jayda Woods for one of the game’s biggest shots.

Ensworth missed its first 12 3-point attempts, but Woods buried one from the right corner to tie the score at 42 with 58 seconds remaining.

“I just knew we had to score more to win more,” said Woods, a freshman point guard. “Never a doubt. It was amazing, a birthday present.”

Woods turned 15 on Saturday as the Lady Tigers won their 16th straight game.

Waggoner, Woods and Kaiya Wynn combined to score all of Ensworth’s last six points at the foul line.

“I think that with two or three minutes left we kind of started rolling and we needed to get some stops on D, and they’ve got some really good players and they were able to finish,” BA point guard Blair Schoenwald said. “It needed to be our job to kind of take a deep breath on offense and make the right passes, but they sped us up.”

Ensworth outscored BA 24-8 in points off turnovers as BA made 23 turnovers. Lady Tigers guard Annabel Frist made eight steals.

“Annabel’s length and her ability to defend is a tremendous part of our defensive pressure and our defensive scheme,” Ensworth coach Mary Taylor Cowles said. “She’s really, really good defensively, but one person can’t do it alone. Those last two minutes, I think we were hitting on all cylinders defensively.”

Schoenwald led the Lady Eagles with 13 points and Maggie Brown, a 6-foot Miss Basketball finalist, added 10.

BA outrebounded Ensworth 34-19, including a 22-11 advantage on the defensive glass. The Lady Eagles made 6 of 14 from 3-point range.

Ensworth won two of three games against BA, which played in its seventh straight final.

“It’s harder than we make it look to get here every year,” Rhonda Brown said. “We’ve played them three times and it was a battle every time. It’s usually come down to free throws and turnovers, and that’s pretty much what it did today.”

BA finished second for the third time in the last seven years, winning titles in the other four.

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