On the eve of Ramel Allen’s first varsity start, his older brother, Jamel, had some simple advice. “He told me to play comfortable and play just like I’m at home,” Ramel said. “He told me not to be nervous.”
Apparently, older brother knows best.
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Ramel Allen, a junior guard, scored 21 points, including a four-point play in the third quarter, and Jamel, a senior center, added 14 to lead Brentwood to a 61-42 victory over host Harborfields Friday night in a non-league boys basketball opener for two of the top teams on Long Island in their respective classes.
Brentwood, the two-time defending Long Island Class AA champion, also got 13 points from Mike Almonacy, who was playing in front of his future college coach, Stony Brook’s Steve Pikiell, and another new starter, Lester Quinones.
Class A Harborfields, which was playing without starting forward Rob Pecorelli (mononucleosis, according to coach John Tampori), was led by Danny Morgan, who scored 17 points.
“It was fun. It’s the first time ever that we both started a game in high school,” said Jamel Allen, like Almonacy a returning Newsday All-Long Island player. “We’ve been practicing together every day for two years and it’s good to see him shooting the ball well and playing well. He knows he has a challenge.”
The challenge is for three new starters surrounding Jamel Allen and Almonacy to mesh. “It’s different this year. Jamel and I might have to score more,” Almonacy said. “I like the way Ramel shot the ball when we were double-teamed. He’s very important to us.”
Ramel Allen contributed immediately, helping Brentwood build a 22-7 lead after the first quarter. He scored eight while Jamel added six and Almonacy, showing off his expanded three-point range, hit two of his three from downtown.
The Indians led 33-17 at halftime, but the Tornados showed some fight before the large partisan crowd. Morgan scored nine third-quarter points and Harborfields cut the deficit to 46-36 entering the fourth.
It might have even been closer had Ramel Allen not sank consecutive corner three-pointers, drawing a foul on one of them and completing the rare four-point play.
“When I released that shot, I knew I had it,” Ramel said.
Brentwood put the game out of reach by scoring the first eight points of the final period, with Jamel converting a strong drive and a tip-in. He concluded the Indians’ scoring with 1:50 left on a thunderous alley-oop dunk from Almonacy.
Said Jamel Allen, “I gave him a little wink.”