Today’s rubber match of the Wilson Central-Brentwood tournament series should come down to the Wildcats’ trapping defense against the Bruins’ high-scoring offense.
The teams split sectional matchups the two previous seasons at Brentwood. This time, it’s under the bright lights of Murphy Center as the Boys’ Basketball State Championships get underway at Middle Tennessee State in Murfreesboro. The Wildcats and Bruins are scheduled to tip off at 11:30 a.m.
“Very similar to the matchup we had last year,” Wildcats coach Troy Bond said. “A few people a little bit different roles.
“Our depth may be a little bit better. They may shoot the ball a bit better from three-point range. It ought to be an interesting matchup. Both programs respect each other very highly. We both have our plusses and minuses with each other.”
Brentwood’s offense bears some resemblance to the Princeton system, though at a faster pace.
“It’s kind of a five-out motion,” Bond said. “They have a lot of Princeton principles to it. But whereas Princeton plays a slow style, they like to play uptempo. They can score a lot of different ways. They can play halfcourt or uptempo, which makes it hard for teams to match up.
“They have a lot of experience like we do. They play well together as a unit. They share the basketball. They have a lot of similarities with us… Brentwood is a very talented offensive ball club.”
Central lost in the state two years ago while Brentwood came from behind to beat Blackman in the quarterfinals last season.
The Bruins, under longtime coach Dennis King, are 31-2 while the Wildcats, whose coach Bond has been with 26-6 entering their fourth state tournament. Central’s only win in Murphy Center came in its first game, over Rhea County, in 2004.
It’s going to come down to who can perform on the big stage with all the pressure of the state tournament,” said Bond, who has taken his Wildcats to the bigger arenas of Belmont’s Curb Events Center and Tennessee State’s Gentry Center [where he played college ball] to get them acclimated to the deep backdrops. “We just got to show up and play our brand of ball… Hopefully, we’ll keep our good defense going.
“Our kids are excited about being there. But we’re not satisfied about being there. We want to advance for sure.”
The winner will play in Friday’s 10 a.m. semifinal against the winner of Hamilton [27-6] and Blackman [25-6], who will open the tournament at 10 this morning.
The championship game will be at 2 p.m. Saturday with Siegel [31-1], Arlington [28-4], Oak Ridge [30-7] and Jefferson County [30-5] coming from the other bracket.