Should Lake Braddock boys basketball coach Brian Metress ask his senior guard Jimmy Anderson to lift this year’s team on his shoulders and carry it back the state finals, Anderson says he’d oblige.
Anderson was named captain this season, taking the leadership responsibility from graduating key senior leaders Quentin James and Sam Grable. The 2019-20 team debuted Friday at home and pulled away from Herndon, 98-56. Anderson led the Bruins (1-0) with 28 points. Herndon fell to 0-2.
Anderson’s strong play was evident literally and figuratively. Standing just 6-foot-2, Anderson’s stature and upper-body build is immediately apparent as soon as he removes his warmups. He posted up players for easy buckets in the paint and also hit three of his team’s five three-pointers.
“I might enjoy lifting weights even more than playing basketball,” said Anderson, a one-sport athlete who only plays at the high school level. “I like being physical. It’s a pride thing, an ego thing, being able to work down low against taller players. I like to back down guys, get position, take a pass or rebound and show them that I’m stronger than they are.”
There’s plenty of strength up and down Lake Braddock’s relatively young roster, a group 10-deep that is looking to top last year’s 25-4 team that fell to Landstown in the state final.
“We still have a sour taste in our mouths from that state final loss,” said Anderson, a third-year varsity player. “Last year was the greatest season of my life in terms of us making that run through the region and then to getting to the final. We want to do it again. We can.”
The Bruins again will use a ferocious full-court press and quick-shot transition offense (the team topped 100 points eight times a year ago). Insert freshman Jamie Kaiser (10 points) and sophomores David Solomon (19 points) and Quincy Via (nine points) and Metress’ team is built for now and the next few years.
“It’s a deep roster, we substitute often the entire game, but the starting five are starting for a reason,” Metress said. “They are our best players. [Friday], we were able to wear [Herndon] down in the second half and some of their kids got into foul trouble early.”
Lysander Rehnstrom led Herndon with 19 points (three three-pointers) but was held to three points in the second half, his team managing just 20 after intermission. The Bruins scored the first 12 points of the third quarter to grab a 61-37 advantage.
“We learned some lessons [from this loss],” Rehnstrom said. “They exposed our lack of physicality. They were just bigger and stronger.”
Rehnstrom, a 6-3 senior shooting guard, had one highlight-reel moment, canning back-to-back three-pointers in a five-second sequence in the second quarter to bring his team within 37-29. Herndon, which never led, could get no closer.
Herndon third-year varsity guard Quentin Hart (seven points, three steals) sparked some early defense by the Hornets to keep the game close, sometimes simply taking the ball away from Lake Braddock’s players.
“We have the tools and materials to play with a team like Braddock,” Hart says. “We just need to get better, especially on offense. We need to execute better.”
Metress said his team had a few opening-night jitters, which led to the Hornets winning the turnover battle in the first half. “We were just running around a bit at the start,” he said. “It’s just the first game. We’ll get it settled.”
Lake Braddock closed the game on a 12-3 run to top Herndon 73-63 in the season opener for both teams. Bruins junior Carter DeVoll dominated the paint and the boards to score 32 points. Hornets guard Jake Xeller, just coming back from a shoulder injury suffered in football, scored 24.