LANGLEY — Brendan Sullivan wasn’t thinking about his form, his technique or any of the intangibles that have turned him into a clutch shooter.
“I saw the shot-clock running down, I was trying to run a play, but I just ended hucking it up,” the Grade 11 guard said. “I just had faith and apparently it went in.”
In a game that moved at a glacial offensive pace, the second of back-to-back triples by Sullivan over the final 5:30 of play carried the unstoppable nature of a rising tide for Mill Bay’s Brentwood College School.
The only high school in B.C. without a nickname for its athletic teams, however, didn’t need one.
After a 54-44 win over Vancouver Island rivals St. Michaels University School of Victoria, you could just call them champions.
“We’ve talked about family all year and we stuck together,” said Brentwood head coach Blake Gage. “There was a lot of adversity out there but they stuck together, they never stopped believing and they turned it up when they had to.”
Go-time came at the start of the second half.
Trailing the same Blue Jags team they beat 67-37 at the Vancouver Island championships by as 31-20 score at halftime, they began to slowly chip away at their deficit.
And behind a fourth quarter in which they outscored the Jags 17-5, they eventually pulled ahead, their definitive run coming on eight straight points by Sullivan.
“He is a big-game player,” said Gage. “He hasn’t always looked so good when we aren’t in big games, but I tell you what, in the big games, the kid steps up.”
With tournament MVP Bruno Chan supplying seven points and 11 rebounds, and defensive MVP Aaron Shulga defining Brentwood’s prevailing attitude, that tide kept turning.
“They were just better than us, that’s it in a nutshell,” said SMUS head coach Ian Hyde-Lay, who had led his Blue Jags into the final for the fourth straight season. “We played with great emotion in the first half, but fatigue was a big issue for us. We had a lot of guys play a lot of minutes last night (in a win over King George). We were tired and (Brentwood) really amped up their defence.”
Sullivan led the winners with 19 points, while Nathan Paloske added 13. Chan grabbed 11 rebounds in a game in which Brentwood was a plus-17 on the boards.
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