Smack-dab in the middle of an unprecedented run of personal success, Garrett Brown isn't looking to slow down anytime soon.
Brown, the head boys basketball coach at Bakersfield Christian High School, was still in celebration mode 48 hours after his team captured a second consecutive Central Section title with a 56-55 win over Nipomo on Friday, and admits he's eager to keep the good feelings going.
“Winning at this level and winning championships, it’s a contagious feeling. I had never been there before last year," Brown said. "I’d never won a championship as a player or a coach. Just having that feeling of putting everything into it to reach your ultimate goal, it’s a feeling you can’t really describe but once you feel it, you want to have that feeling over and over again.”
Brown and the Eagles will get a chance to continue their recent success this week, after they secured the No. 4 seed in the Division 3-AA bracket of the Southern Californian Boys Basketball Championships on Sunday.
The Eagles will host No. 5 Valley Christian at approximately 7 p.m. Tuesday. If victorious, they will face the winner of Tuesday's matchup between top seed Aquinas and eighth-seeded Van Nuys-Grant in the semifinals Thursday. The championship game will be played at 7 p.m. Saturday.
There's more on the line than chasing a good feeling for BCHS in this postseason. The Eagles reached the final round of the Division IV Championships a season ago as a five seed, only to have the emerging COVID-19 pandemic force the game's cancellation.
After dealing with a canceled championship game and a brutal 2021 schedule, Brown doesn't believe this team will be overwhelmed by any impending challenges.
"I think we had 12 or 13 games against top-25 teams in the state of California," he said. "We're battle-tested, and the guys are going to be ready for whatever's thrown at them."
Two teams that fell just shy of tasting championship glory were given great chances to rebound in the girls tournament.
Both Bakersfield Christian and Bakersfield High will enter the Southern California Girls Basketball Championships as No. 1 seeds in their respective divisions.
The Eagles, who fell 69-49 to Orcutt Academy in the Division IV Section title game, will open Division 4-A play against Immaculate Heart at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. The BCHS boys game that night will follow immediately after.
The Driller girls also came out on top of their bracket and will host No. 8 seed Burroughs at 7 p.m. Tuesday. BHS comes in off a 55-38 loss to Righetti in the Division I title game.
Coaches for the two teams had different reactions to the high seeding.
"I didn't have any expectations," BHS coach Rashaan Shehee said. "When it comes to playoffs, you never know what the state's going to do. I'm just excited for the girls. They get to play another game, and obviously you're always happy to get to play in the state playoffs."
Eagles coach John Buetow was more enthused, primarily about getting to play all remaining games on his home court.
“It was definitely a pleasant surprise," Buetow said of the seeding. "I’m not exactly sure how the state figures out which division you’re in. But the No. 1 seed is a big deal. I think it confirms the work that our players have done this year and we’re pleased to not have to travel for the whole tournament.”
Like the boys tournament, the girls will hold semifinal games on Thursday and championship games on Saturday. Each game will be hosted by the higher seed.