The excitement on campus was palpable yesterday as not one but two teams hosted competitors in the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC)'s championship games and each turned out to be hard fought, nail-biters to the buzzer.
Shortly before 6:30 p.m., Brooks girls 1st ice hockey (seeded third) faced off against St. George's School (seeded sixth) in the quarterfinals of the Division II tournament.
The first period went scoreless. Brooks' players "gave great effort and played with their hearts," said coach Lori Charpentier P'20, associate director of admission. Yet St. George's scored two goals in the following periods. Fourth-former Quin Healy came through with a goal with less than 26 seconds to play, but the team still finished behind in the final score: St. George's 2, Brooks 1.
"Our girls fought hard and with pride right until the end," said Charpentier. "We are proud of how they kept competing."
All season long "they worked hard, on and off the ice, to come together as a team," she added. "And last night they played hard for each other. Unfortunately we came up short but we are so proud of all they accomplished this season. They've learned many lessons along the way that go beyond the wins and losses."
Visit Brooks Athletics to see a calendar of all the teams' games, plus information about each squad and their scores.
Healy may have been the only player to score, but Charpentier says the team's 12-7-5 record, and championship bid, is the result of everyone on the squad working hard, together. The class of 2019's Caroline Kukas's performance "is always worthy of recognition," she added. "She has been amazing all season and had another strong game last night. And of course, our three sixth-formers Millie Brady, Teagan Canning and Emma English deserve recognition, not only for their strong performances last night but for the impact they have had on Brooks girls' hockey during their four years here." Next season, said the coach, "They will be missed both on and off the ice, for sure."
Last night, playing in Brooks' rink, the whole team felt love from the home crowd. "The support from our fans was awesome," said Charpentier. "They stuck with us right to the end, too."
Crowd support was in full effect earlier as well, across the Athletics Center at 3:30 p.m., when boys 1st basketball faced their first round competition in the NEPSAC tournament: Beaver Country Day School.
"We have a long history of great games with Beaver Country Day," said coach and English teacher John McVeigh, dean of faculty. "This is the fourth or fifth time we've played them in the tournament during the last eight years, and we play a regular season game every year as well, so the teams really know each other and bring out the best in each other."
Brooks is the top seed in the championship, yet it was eighth-seeded Beaver Day that took the lead, 16-12, when the game kicked off. "Beaver made a bunch of tough shots early in the game, and it was the first time all year that we trailed right out of the gates," said McVeigh. "I was proud of the way we responded and were able to take back the lead before halftime."
At the half, Brooks was ahead 34-28, and determined to keep it that way. With eight minutes left to play Brooks was still leading with 47 points to Beaver's 41 and when the buzzer rang Brooks had won the game, 60 to 56.
"It was a gritty, tough win for us," said McVeigh. "We haven't played in many close games this year so it was good to be put into that kind of situation and find a way to win."
Advancing to the semifinals, Brooks will take on fifth-seeded Marianapolis Prep on Saturday. "We'll have to play better this weekend in order to win the championship," the coach added. "But this is a group of guys who have played in these kinds of games before, and I know they will respond to the challenge in front of us."
Follow Brooks Athletics on Twitter for updates about the tournament and games throughout the year.
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