Phil Bryant wins 700th game; Whittell boys b-ball beats Bishop
ZEPHYR COVE — Whittell boys basketball coach Phil Bryant always says that it’s about more than wins and losses. Thursday night, it was about the wins — 700 of them.
Bryant reached the 700-win plateau with the Warriors’ 64-46 victory over Bishop (Calif.) at the Whittell Invitational. Those victories have come over four decades of coaching high school basketball as part of his distinguished career.
“It makes me think of all the great players that I’ve had over the years — everybody that would have contributed to anyone of those wins over the years,” Bryant said. “It means for a lot of years I’ve had some really great kids.”
Bryant’s first career coaching victory came at Marian Catholic High School in San Diego, a road win over Coronado. His latest was fueled by a fast start from the Warriors.
“What it really means is that I’m an old guy — I’ve been around a long time,” Bryant joked.
Whittell (5-1) used its 2-1-2 full-court press to overwhelm its opposition early on in Thursday night’s game, scoring the first 16 points after tipoff. The Warriors held Bishop scoreless for the first 4:38, and led 16-4 after the first quarter.
The Broncos scored the first four points of the second quarter before Whittell guard Palmer Chaplin hit a three-pointer to make it 19-8 — three of his game-high 25 points. The Warriors continued to stretch their lead, and held a 34-16 advantage at halftime.
“We had control, but we didn’t really have intensity,” Bryant said. “I think more of that was because of the day — the power went out, we sent them home and didn’t know if we were going to play.”
In the second half, Whittell never led by less than 13 points en route to a comfortable victory. After the final buzzer sounded and both teams shook hands, Warriors players celebrated their coach’s milestone — in his third season at Whittell, Bryant has a 42-17 record.
“We’re ecstatic to be able to get him that 700th victory,” Warriors forward Quinn Kixmiller said. “He does so much for us — he knows what he’s doing, and we’re proud we could help him out with that.”
Bryant wasn’t made aware of his potential milestone until prior to the start of the season, when MaxPreps reached out to him and asked if he was close. That research revealed he was five wins shy of 700 — Thursday night, he relished the opportunity to celebrate the achievement alongside his wife Jannette and son Matt.
“As a coach, you don’t really keep track — you just worry about what’s the next one,” Bryant said. “Still, it’s a fun thing.”
Chaplin’s 25-point game included four three-pointers. Kixmiller scored 20 points, dominating the inside on the way to a career night — 14 of his total came after halftime.
“I kind of felt a little off going in, but I’m happy with the outcome of it,” Kixmiller said. “It came down to power — Phil tells us to get in the weight room, and that definitely helps a lot.”
Whittell guard Colin Buchholz added nine points as Whittell bounced back from its first defeat of the season. For Bishop, forward Thomas Montoya led the way with 21 points.
“We were definitely ready to come back, get some points and win a game again,” Kixmiller said.
The Warriors continued play at the Whittell Tournament on Friday and wrapped up tournament play Saturday. Opponents and times are to be determined as the result of Thursday’s power outages.