STORY BY CORY WOODROOF | PHOTOS BY ANDY COLLIGNON
The Brentwood Academy Lady Eagles sent off senior Avery Kovick in style for her last game on the home court.
The team nary hit a snag in its 70-32 win over St. Agnes in the D-II AA state quarterfinals.
Once the team jumped out to a 9-2 lead early, it was a cruise for four quarters for the Lady Eagles to punch their ticket to Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena for the semifinals.
“It just means so much, especially with the girls I’ve been with for the past four years,” Kovick said about returning to the big stage. “I’m excited to go back.”
Two more wins, and the Lady Eagles will notch in a fifth state championship win in six seasons and cement them as one of the state’s most dominant girls basketball programs of the decade.
“I think it speaks to the type of kids we have,” head coach Rhonda Brown said of what drives such success. “We graduated five last year that played…there are several teams in our division that are pretty much the same.
“That was our goal [for the season], to at least have a chance to play on Thursday. That’s pretty exciting. I have a great group of kids and good staff. They work hard. I think we develop kids; we have a program. You don’t just reload. You don’t start over all the time, which helps.”
Maggie Brown led all scorers with 20, while Blair Schoenwald paced her with 12. Caroline Clemmer had 10, while the senior Kovick had 9.
The team will face Father Ryan Thursday night at Allen Arena in the semifinal round of the state tournament.
“[To keep] on pushing forward is a blessing,” Kovick said of continuing the tradition the former Lady Eagles have carried before her at the state level.
Kovick honored as ‘phenomenal athlete,’ ‘kid of character’
Kovick will bid adieu to BA’s court and head with her teammates down Granny White Pike to try and bring home another state title to close out her senior season.
Right before the final buzzer, she was surrounded by her teammates and celebrated over the speaker at a final timeout for her career.
Coach Brown had high commendations to provide her lone senior.
“Avery’s amazing,” Brown said. “She’s probably an old soul in a high school kid’s body. [She’s] really good with the younger kids. She, in her career, has just done whatever we needed her to do; doesn’t really care who gets the credit, doesn’t care about her stats, just plays hard.
“She’s a phenomenal athlete. I kind of call her a unicorn because she’s really fast and can jump, and athletic. You don’t see that a lot sometimes in certain kids. She’s a phenomenal track athlete, too. More importantly, a kid of character, a great kid.
“I think she epitomizes what BA stands for. Solid faith, great athletic ability, really smart and is an incredible teammate.”
Kovick spoke to what it’s meant to be with Brentwood Academy.
“It means lots of different things,” she said about being a Lady Eagle for her career. “It means no middle on the court, but it also means putting the team before yourself and watching out for the younger girls and being a strong leader.”