By CHIP CIRILLO | Photos by ANDY COLLIGNON
The player of the future battled the player of the moment on Monday night.
They fought to a draw in Brentwood Academy’s 50-47 win over visiting Ensworth. The victory clinched the Division II-AA East/Middle Region title for the Lady Eagles.
BA guard Sydni Harvey, a three-time Division II-AA tournament MVP, passed the 2,000 career points milestone with a 24-point effort as the Lady Eagles extended their win streak to 18.
Ensworth sophomore Dontavia Waggoner, a major college prospect, led the Lady Tigers with 25.
Harvey is 13 points away from passing Danna Simpson (2,016 points) to become BA’s career scoring leader.
“(Danna) was our only Miss Basketball winner until Sydni won it last year,” BA coach Rhonda Brown said. “When the game’s on the line, (Sydni) is going to make it happen. She does a great job of getting to the free throw line.”
Monday was the latest example of that as the South Florida commit scored BA’s last six points, including four foul shots.
The senior hit two free throws to give BA (25-2, 14-0 Division II-AA East/Middle) a 46-44 lead with 24.8 seconds left.
“She’s a special player,” “Brown said. “I think she makes everybody around her better. I think she’s hard to guard.”
Vanderbilt signee Darius Garland, a McDonald’s All-American on the BA boys team, has also broken the 2,000-point mark.
“This senior class at BA is, top to bottom from every sport, probably the best I’ve ever seen,” Brown said. “We had 18 sign the other day and Sydni wasn’t even in that so there’s 19 and there are probably a couple others. Cam (Johnson) has nine state championships. It’s a talented group.”
Harvey hit 11 of 12 foul shots, including all six in the fourth quarter.
“It’s hard to keep (Dontavia) off the boards,” Harvey said. “If she’s set on getting a rebound, she’s going to get it.”
Harvey’s high basketball IQ and versatility makes her difficult to contain.
“First and foremost, I think Sydni understands the game of basketball, but she can do so much,” Ensworth coach Mary Taylor Cowles said. “She can put the ball on the floor and attack, she can shoot from the perimeter or the outside, she’s great at the free throw line. She’s very much an all-around player.”
Cowles believes Waggoner has unlimited potential if she continues to spend time in the gym.
“I think it’s off the charts,” Cowles said. “Her athleticism and her ability to rebound and jump are incredible. Her ability to anticipate on the defensive end makes her very valuable to us, whether we’re in the half court or pressing in the full court.”
Kaiya Wynn added 14 points for Ensworth (17-6, 11-2), which lost to BA for the second time in six days. Wynn missed a chance to send the game into overtime when her 3-point attempt bounced off the rim with three seconds left.
Ensworth took a 13-8 lead after the first quarter before getting outscored 18-6 in the second quarter with Waggoner and Wynn on the bench in foul trouble.
That gave BA a 26-19 halftime lead.
Ensworth visits Pope John Paul II on Tuesday
Girls Preparatory School visits Brentwood Academy on Tuesday