BG boys title special for Drenning family

LORETTO – It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for Brandon Drenning.

Sure, he scored 22 points as the Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School boys beat Bishop Carroll, 42-39, for their first District 6 championship since taking Class A in 2007.

The downside was that his championship medal was accompanied by a public hug from his dad, first-year Marauder coach Chris.

The younger Drenning smiled wryly at the prospect.

“It wasn’t as awkward,” Brandon Drenning said, “as I thought it would be.”

The funny thing about it was, other than the embrace taking a few milliseconds more than with any of the other players, there was nothing to giveaway that the coach and the star player for the Marauders were related.

It could have been because the Drenning home already has been a home away from home for this season’s Marauder players for years.

“All I wanted to do was do the best job I could for the kids,” Chris Drenning said. “It’s great having a son on the team, but all those seniors have grown up at my house. I’ve know a couple of them since they were in kindergarten. It’s a neat experience for all the kids.

“I’m in it for them, and I always have been. So I’m really happy for them.”

Coach Drenning even deferred when asked about the hypothetical sweetness of winning the district with his son when he would look back on it long after his coaching days were over.

“They’re all special [memories],” Chris Drenning said. “I told the kids, ‘You’re going to remember this the rest of your life. I told C.J. [Fulare, who hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 3 seconds left], ‘You’re going to have that shot for the rest of your life.’ That’s a neat thing for a 16-, 17-year-old kid.”

Coaching a son or daughter can be fraught with pitfalls. When Drenning took the job for his son’s senior year, there were natural questions of how it would play out. Would players feel passed over in favor of the coach’s kid? Would Brandon Drenning feel too much pressure to produce from his dad.

That didn’t happen.

“He can be hard on me at times, but, in the end, I’m just another player, and he treats me just like anyone else,” Brandon Drenning said. “He’s been pretty fair.”

The way the younger Drenning, a deadly-accurated 6-foot shooting guard, played in the playoffs didn’t hurt, either. He fired in 21 points in the Marauders’ 68-55 semifinal win over Homer-Center on Monday. Then he made six 3-pointers on the biggest stage of his young career to put BG in position to knock off top-seeded Carroll, a finalist for the third straight year.

“I grew up in a basketball family. This has been my dream since I was little,” the younger Drenning said. “My guys got me ready. I came into the game, and I was focused, and I wanted it more than anything.”

Getting the Drenning Era off and running at Guilfoyle helped serve as fuel, even though his last high school game will be played sometime in the next few weeks.

“It feels especially good winning it for the program and getting the program – with my dad as coach – started off the right way,” Brandon Drenning said.