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Watch now: As Decatur city game arrives, MacArthur's Brylan Phillips finding his place on new team
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MACARTHUR BASKETBALL

Watch now: As Decatur city game arrives, MacArthur's Brylan Phillips finding his place on new team

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DECATUR — Over his first two seasons at Eisenhower, Brylan Phillips attracted attention to his game both on the basketball court and the football field. When he announced last summer that he was transferring to MacArthur for his junior season, it made news in Division I recruiting circles.

But when Phillips joined his new team, he didn’t expect to have a spot in the starting lineup just handed to him. He knew he had to earn it. But it helped that his Generals teammates have accepted him with open arms.

“I didn’t plan on anything being given to me when I got here. It’s a team full of great ballers and anybody can start on any given night. Like you saw (against Chatham), anybody can have a good night,” Phillips said.

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MacArthur head coach Terise Bryson gives instructions to point guard Brylan Phillips (2) on Friday against Chatham Glenwood. More photos and video at www.herald-review.com.

Phillips was humble joining a Generals roster that had a strong nucleus of returning players whose record was sub-.500 last season at 16-17 but came together and won the program’s first regional championship since the 2014-15 season.

“Ever since I came over in the summer and we were able to get in the gym, the guys treated me like one of them right off of the jump,” he said. “I came in wanting to be a leader and I really didn’t care about starting. I knew that would come eventually. I just wanted to come in and get some wins and get good team chemistry so we would be ready when we were able to get a season like this.”

MacArthur has started this short 13-game season strongly, with wins over Normal U-High and Chatham Glenwood. Four Generals scored in double figures in the first game -- Nick Spannaus, Jabryn Anderson, Phillips and Qua Smith -- and in the second game Ryan Bartly joined Spannaus and Anderson with 10-plus points.

“I think all of them could play Division I basketball. I don’t see why any of them couldn’t get a free ride to a school,” Phillips said. “The way we are hooping right now, everyone just looks to get everybody included. That’s our main goal — to get all of our players going.”

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MacArthur's Nick Spannaus (22) and Brylan Phillips celebrates in the fourth quarter on Friday against Glenwood at MacArthur. More photos and video at www.herald-review.com

Phillips adjusted his playstyle between game one and game two and used some of the distributing skills he was working on while playing AAU basketball in Kansas City and St. Louis when high school basketball was stopped in Illinois.

“In the first game, I was really aggressive (offensively) but (against Glenwood), I tried to get my teammates involved first,” Phillips said. “Tonight, I felt like getting them involved and as long as they were hitting shots we were going to get the win. That’s all that matters to me.

“AAU really helped me a lot, especially coming into a team like this with a lot of bigs. I got a chance to run with some 6-7s and 6-8s and having shooters all around me.”

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Spannaus, a Culver-Stockton College commit, was critical to the Generals' regional title win last season but Anderson is new to the varsity spotlight after playing on JV for much of last season.

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MacArthur's Jabryn Anderson (3) shoots the ball against a Chatham Glenwood defender on Friday. 

“Jabryn is new to you but he isn’t new to us. He was on JV last year but he is a great player and a great shooter. He also knows how to get his team involved,” Phillips said. “Nick is a really big dude and is one of the strongest players in the conference.”

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MacArthur boys head coach Terise Bryson was an assistant coach under Ron Ingram for six seasons. 

Phillips' first two games with MacArthur were also the first two for Terise Bryson as the Generals new head coach, taking over for Ron Ingram, who stepped down in September.

“I think he is Coach of the Year already. Defense is his strength and that is what he is preaching to us,” Phillips said. “He really doesn’t care what kind of offense that we do as long as we are getting back and playing defense.”

Phillips and fellow Panthers transfer Caleb Patton return to Eisenhower for the one scheduled meeting between the Panthers and Generals in this shortened season on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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MacArthur's Jabryn Anderson (3) led the Generals with 15 points against Chatham Glenwood on Friday. 

“It is another game. There might be a little bit of an atmosphere but it is just another game to me,” Phillips said. “If I get zero points then I get zero. As long as MacArthur wins, that’s all matters.”

MacArthur girls host Eisenhower

The MacArthur girls (2-0) will host  Eisenhower on Tuesday. The Generals defeated Chatham Glenwood  63-46 behind a 22-point performance from Taya Davis on Friday.  

The first quarter was tight as the Generals led the Titans 13-11 after one quarter but pushed the lead to 29-20 at halftime. The Titans couldn't tighten the game in the second half as the Generals led 49-37 after three quarters and closed out the 17-point victory. 

Joining Davis in double figures for the Generals were Quincenia Jackson with 19 points and Hayley Diveley with 10. 

Eisenhower (0-2) has had a tough start to its season with lopsided losses to Chatham Glenwood (86-17) and Springfield Lanphier (70-15). 


Contact Matthew Flaten at (217) 421-6968. Follow him on Twitter: @MattFlaten

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