Brewster Wins National Prep Championship
Brewster Academy took the 2014 National Prep Championship by defeating St. Thomas More School on Wednesday night at Albertus Magnus College by a score of 88-78.
The Bobcats advanced to the finals with a 84-61 semifinal win over Northfield Mount Hermon earlier in the day while the Chancellors outlasted IMG Academy 93-86 in the other semifinal.
The finals marked the third time these two teams got together this season after splitting their regular season contests. Brewster charged out of the gates, flying all over the court and running to a 19-3 run and forcing St. Thomas More to use three time-outs in the first five minutes of the game.
Chancellor forward Josh Williams would eventually help to stop the bleeding, utilizing his length and athleticism to make consecutive buckets inside the paint, and later coming back with a three-pointer and big transition dunk to cap a 15 point performance
Yuta Watanabe would be the story for STM in the second, scoring 22 of his team high 25 points after halftime. The long lefty forward was knocking down tough threes but also showing an evolving driving game and willingness to go right into contact in order to get himself to the free-throw line.
While St. Thomas More would continue to fight and scrap their way back until the bitter end, ultimately that initial deficit proved to be too much for them to overcome.
Jared Terrell took tournament MVP honors after scoring 39 points over the course of the first two rounds and asserting himself as an obvious emotional leader for this team while making plays defensively and taking on some of the ball-handling responsibilities against pressure.
Devonte Graham and Isaac Copeland were both at their best in the final. Graham was the primary catalyst for Brewster’s first half run and finished with a game high 22 points. He also showed great endurance to handle major minutes without showing any sign of mental or physical fatigue.
Copeland got going on the defensive end in the first-half, starting Brewster’s break by rotating over to protect the rim with his shot-blocking prowess and then imposing his will offensively late in the second, almost single handedly stopping STM’s building momentum with a pair of huge dunks above traffic, one of which came with an added free-throw.
Donovan Mitchell had a huge late dunk of his own for two of his 14 points while Jonah Bolden continued to show his sweet long range stroke for 15. Jarred Reuter once again finished in double figures with 11.
Ultimately that balance was the story for Brewster, not just today or in this tournament, but throughout the entire season as head coach Jason Smith had this group sharing the ball extremely well and coming together as a cohesiveness unit that made it impossible for opposing defenses to zero in on just two or three scorers.
With all six of their primary contributors playing at the top of their game, Brewster was able to win five games in five days to take both the NEPSAC and national titles, while writing new chapters in the record books in the process.
Brewster has now won three national championships, while no other program in the country has won more than one since the National Prep Championship originated in 2007. They’re also the only program in New England to take a NEPSAC and national title in the same year, and have now done so twice, both in 2010 and 2014. They also closed their season with a 22 game winning streak, having not lost a single game since their late December trip to the City of Palms tournament in Florida.