Todd Beamer Boys win ninth straight over Auburn Mountainview

A slow start wasn’t enough to stop the Titans, who are on their longest win streak since 2013.

Outside of basketball, the more popular reason for gathering in a group of five is maybe to play in a band or a quintet. For the Todd Beamer High School boys basketball side, they might not be a band, but the Titans are playing all the right notes.

Todd Beamer continued to play that sweet, sweet music and won their ninth game in a row Jan. 11 over Auburn Mountainview, 66-57, at home.

“We didn’t play our best basketball. It was kind of a weird vibe … They know that Auburn Mountainview is good. I don’t know if there was pressure, but they also know we’re at home and I think we’re supposed to win tonight,” Head Coach Brent Brilhante said.

Entering the matchup, both teams were expecting to battle for the top spot and close the gap on the Auburn Trojans, who are looking for a third straight league title. Todd Beamer fell to the Trojans early December, 60-48, and have now gone on their longest winning streak since 2013-14, when the Titans won 10 games.

Both teams took a different route to get to where they were on Jan. 11, but Beamer’s road was a relatively simple one. The Titans opponents’ win percentage was .357, which was second lowest in the entire state at the 3A classification, so the Lions were providing a test for Todd Beamer.

In the first quarter, Todd Beamer got out to a slow, sluggish start much to the dismay of Brilhante.

“I don’t know if they subconsciously put too much pressure on themselves, but that wasn’t us for the first 20 minutes,” Brilhante said.

Todd Beamer for the last couple of years has been a school that has played unconventional basketball, which has benefited them over the last few seasons. Against the Lions, however, they were a bit too aggressive and played out of their regular style of play.

“We were just not sharing the basketball. We took a lot of really bad shots. We’re going to take what people in the crowd think are bad shots, but I don’t think they are bad shots. Tonight, we took some bad ones,” Brilhante said.

Auburn Mountainview’s Sebastian Arius caught fire and put the Lions in front with ten points in the first quarter and a 17-15 lead when the first quarter buzzer sounded.

Todd Beamer responded and shut down Arius and the Lions in the second quarter and took a 34-26 lead going into halftime. Terrence Whiting didn’t make a field goal in the first half, but finished six for six from the free throw line and is finding his way after being thrown into a leadership role.

“We had our ups and downs, but we figured it out and came together as a unit. Overall, everyone did their part,” Whiting said.

“When Keanu [Earnest] went down, he stepped in and is now the second captain. The guys know he’s a leader and he leads out on the court. But for the first 16 minutes he didn’t play his best. He leads the league in assists and steals, averaging 10 points a game and guarding the best player on the other team. He’s a dog. I expect a ton from him,” Brilhante said.

The Lions came out with some energy, outscoring Todd Beamer, 13-6, to start the second half, cutting the Titan lead to one point. Brilhante, famous for not using timeouts until late, stayed true to his ways and let his team figure it out. They navigated the storm due to Will Tellis scoring seven points in the back half of the third on his way to a 18-point night.

“I was trusting them. I probably should have called a timeout… They just responded. They’re tough kids, they are gritty and competitive… They didn’t have the whole picture, but still got a huge league win,” Brilhante said.

“We focused up on our game plan and executed on defense and rebounded,” Whiting said.

Tellis continued to play a big part in the game for the Titans with seven more points in the final quarter. The Lions cut the lead to four with two minutes remaining in the game, but Caleb Berry was able to ice the game, going 4 for 4 from the free throw line.

“We played together defensively and ran the floor and also ran our sets (on offense). We’re just a well communicated team,” Whiting said.

It wasn’t a pretty win. It was quite an ugly win if you ask Coach Brilhante, but it was a win that took execution on all sides of the floor. The Titans have played a different type of basketball since the loss to Auburn, for better or for worse.

“Growth wise, we wouldn’t have won the game tonight, we would have lost it… This is a group that, I’m bald for a reason you know. These guys make my hair fall out,” Brilhante said.