AZUSA, CA - Against his former school, Braelee Albert and Brentwood captured back-to-back CIF championships with a 48-41 victory over Shareef O’Neal-led Crossroads.
Brentwood took a 34-33 lead into the final stages of the fourth quarter. JR Olofson drove to the basket and scored with under three minutes left, but Darrell Huston fired right back with a made field goal for Crossroads. Two Albert made free-throws and a Huston miss later, senior point guard Charley Wadler nailed a huge three to swing momentum, putting Brentwood up 41-35 with just over one minute remaining.
After Huston drove to the rim and scored, Olofson nailed two free-throws with 10 seconds left to give Brentwood a six point advantage and seal the game. Albert played all-out in 29 minutes for Brentwood, scoring 14 points with 17 rebounds and five assists. “There’s no words to explain this feeling,” he said. “They ran the floor better than us but we never quit.”
Wadler provided a calming force for Brentwood in a team-high 31 minutes. He posted 10 points and two assists, but his impact on the game went beyond the stat sheet. Olofson also contributed 10 points and was perfect from the free-throw line.
“Talk about a rivalry, every time we play against Crossroads it’s a barn burner,” head coach Ryan Bailey said. Brentwood played Crossroads multiple times in the summer and had three matchups with them for the season, the third to win a Division 2AA championship. The schools are nearly three miles apart, and Crossroads won twice in the regular season during league play.
UCLA-commit Shareef O’Neal was held to nine points on three-of-nine shooting. Brentwood threw two-to-three defenders at O’Neal the whole game, but the five-star recruit was still able to make big impacts elsewhere for Crossroads. He blocked five shots and snatched five rebounds, energizing the crowd on each one. “At the end of the game we had some defensive brain farts but didn’t do much wrong,” he said.
Crossroads jumped out to an 11-2 lead early in the first quarter, looking more athletic and hungry than Brentwood to start. O’Neal blocked three shots in the quarter and nailed a three for his first points of the game with just seconds to go.
As time winded down in the second quarter, Brentwood scored under the basket and forced an O’Neal missed three at the other end. Crossroads held Brentwood to a shot clock violation to end the half, leading 19-14.
Huston led Crossroads in scoring with 19 points, but it took him 25 shots to do so. Benjamin Terry scored eight points and grabbed nine rebounds, rounding out the major contributors for Crossroads.