Posted On: 03/6/18 12:11 PM
There’s a common theme you’ll see in this Ten Best piece from Brentwood’s 48-41 win over Crossroads in the CIF-SS Division 2AA championship game Saturday at Azusa Pacific.
The theme is more a name and it belongs to Eagles’ forward Braelee Albert.
Albert did a little bit of everything in helping Brentwood capture its second straight championship and the full breadth of his impact is described below.
Best Scorer(s): Braelee Albert, Brentwood; D.J. Houston, Crossroads
Albert finished with a team-high 14 points on 4 of 9 shooting and 5 of 7 from the free throw line. The 6-foot-5 junior carved out space well around the basket and showed improved ability to attack the basket out of a face-up on the perimeter.
Crossroads guard D.J. Houston scored a game-high 19 points, and while it came on an inefficient 9-for-25 from the field, the senior scored from all three levels of the floor. Brentwood’s defense was spectacular on the day and it showed in the Roadrunners 27.1 field goal percentage for the game.
Best Rebounder: Braelee Albert, Brentwood
Going back to that Albert theme, here. Braelee gobbled up a game-high 17 rebounds despite being surrounded by Crossroads’ more explosive athletes. Sometimes, actually all the time, a simple fundamental box out will negate any athletic disadvantage and that’s exactly how Albert came away with so many boards.
Best Passer: Braelee Albert, Brentwood
Okay, this is the last one, but how could we leave him out of the “best passer” category when he led the game in assists with five? Albert picked apart the Crossroads defense from the high post, reversing the ball and finding open shooters in the process.
Best Shooter(s): Sam Clareman and Charley Wadler, Brentwood
Clareman didn’t have his best shooting game as far as numbers go, but his two 3-point makes came at crucial points in the game. Wadler had his own clutch performance, but we’ll get into that later, and he also showed the deep range that he’s known for.
Best Athlete: Shareef O’Neal, Crossroads
This was an easy one to pick as O’Neal, newly-committed to UCLA after backing off of his commitment Arizona, has freakish athleticism at 6-feet-9. The senior is fluid on the perimeter and explosive in the paint, as evidenced by his two-handed put-back dunk in traffic to close out the third quarter.
Best Clutch Performance: Charley Wadler, Brentwood
Wadler’s 25-foot 3-pointer with 1:30 left in the game gave Brentwood a six-point lead while having a debilitating result on any momentum Crossroads may have had. It was Wadler’s only triple of the game and it came at the ideal time.
Best Under-the-Radar Performance: J.R. Olofson, Brentwood
Olofson turned in a quiet 10-point, three-rebound performance, but his activity on both ends of the floor was key for the Eagles. The 6-foot-4 junior is one of those guys who isn’t afraid to dive on the floor for a loose ball or step over and take a charge.
Best Glue-Guy: Zach Mellon, Brentwood
Mellon, just a freshman, came off the bench and provided a major spark for the Eagles. The 6-foot-3 forward picked up five points and five rebounds in just over 16 minutes of action. Mellon’s whole shtick was to make hustle plays on both ends and he did just that.
Best Shot Blocker: Shareef O’Neal, Crossroads
O’Neal’s combination of length, body control and vertical explosiveness helped him pick up his game-high five blocked shots on the game, a few of them of the highlight variety.
Best Motor: Ben Terry, Crossroads
It seemed like Terry was everywhere on the floor, making something happen on every possession. The 6-4 senior scored eight points on 2 of 3 shooting and 4 of 7 from the free throw line and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.