Half Hollow Hills West may have been the second-half team, but Brentwood had the second-half player. And that made all the difference.
Marcus Cureton scored all 13 of his points in the second half Friday, including a three-pointer from the left corner with 3:17 left, to give Brentwood the lead for good as the Indians held off Hills West, 68-58, in a non-league boys basketball game.
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The Colts, led by Terry Harris' 22 points, were able to take a brief fourth-quarter lead after trailing by as many as 12 in the third.
"[Cureton] is a very good shooter and like all shooters, it takes a little while to come to life," Brentwood coach Anthony Jimenez said. "He deserves it. He never takes any time off, he works hard and he has such a good character that you want to see him be a leader."
Brentwood (5-1) was powered early on by freshman point guard Michael Almonacy, who scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half. Leading by nine at the break, the Indians ballooned their advantage to 48-36 on Cureton's trey off an Almonacy kick-out pass.
Back-to-back threes by Harris -- the last a Hail Mary lob at the third-quarter buzzer -- drew Hills West (2-1) to within five. The Colts then went to a full-court press that all but stymied Brentwood in the opening minutes of the fourth, leading to a 9-2 Hills West run and a one-point lead.
"We had to slow down our offense because we were rushing it a little," said Brentwood's Michael Certain, who finished with 10 points and nine rebounds. "We played smarter defense because they kept getting open shots and we had to shut it down."
After a Cureton foul shot and Certain jumper shifted the advantage back to Brentwood, Hills West's Marcus Solomon scored off a steal under his own basket and the Colts retook the lead. It was short-lived, as Cureton's three on the next possession ignited a 13-2 run to end the game. He scored eight points in the fourth quarter and had four steals for the game.
"I was getting good looks from my point guard," Cureton said. "We slowed down the offense and we played with more poise and we were getting the ball into the right people's hands."
In this case, it was his, clamping down on the hot team with his own hot hand.