NORTH ANDOVER – With five new faces in the starting lineup, the Brooks School boys’ basketball team has not missed a beat this season.
The two-time defending NEPSAC Class B champions and three-time defending Independent School League champions wrapped up its 66th consecutive win over ISL competition on Wednesday afternoon, defeating visiting Belmont Hill, 62-46.
By besting Belmont Hill for the fourth time in as many years in a battle of ISL leaders, Brooks (20-0, 12-0 Independent School League) is now in position to wrap up a fourth consecutive conference title.
But this group isn’t caught up in the program’s historic run.
In fact, Brooks coach John McVeigh points out that it may be easier for his current starting five to focus on the task at hand because most were role players coming off the bench during last year’s title run.
“These are all guys who waited their turn behind a really good group,” said McVeigh.
“All we talk about is playing the next possession and it’s helpful that none of these guys started last year, so it’s a little fresh for them. We’ve had a great rivalry with Belmont Hill and this is the first time these guys have gotten to start in this game.”
Brian Wright-Kinsey, a 6-foot-4 win from Brooklyn, N.Y, poured in a game-high 25 points. He was 5 of 6 from from 3-point range, hitting his first three attempts from long range to open an early 13-1 lead.
From there, a dominant defensive effort from a pair of 6-foot-7 seniors, Keigan Kerby (2 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks) of Hampton Beach, N.H., and Melrose’s Justin Connolly (8 points, 3 blocks) allowed Brooks to hold the opposition at bay.
“We talk about defense as being our identity,” said McVeight.
“We have talented kids, who have bought in and play hard. [Belmont Hill] made a run and we just got a bunch of stops that let us open up the lead.”
Belmont Hill (16-3, 9-2) was led by Brown University commit David Mitchell (14 points) and Williams commit Jovan Jones (16 points), who both hail from Boston.
But the night belonged to Brooks, a powerhouse program in a quiet corner of North Andover that has now won 59 consecutive games since losing to Beaver Country Day on Jan. 16, 2016.
“I’m really proud of this group,” said McVeigh.
“They’ve stepped up this year in such a balanced way, it seems like every game someone new is stepping up. It’s an incredible group to coach and I feel like the luckiest coach in the world.”