In a test against a perennially strong Christ the King boys basketball program, Brentwood came up short.
The Indians fell to the Royals, 78-62, on Friday night at City College’s Nat Holman Gymnasium in an SNY Invitational semifinal.
“Today we weren’t the team that we should be,” said senior captain Michael Almonacy, who had four points and two assists. “We weren’t playing poised. We were out of it. We all didn’t play our best game, but we’re going to learn from that.”
Jamel Allen led Brentwood (12-2) with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Ryan Beckles scored 16 points and Rahmel Allen and Lester Quinones had 10 each.
Brentwood took a 9-6 lead on Quinones’ three-pointer midway through the first quarter, but Christ the King (12-5) answered with a 12-0 run capped by Jared Rivers’ three-pointer with 1:20 left in the period.
The Royals opened a 27-14 lead before entering halftime ahead 36-27.
Almonacy and Jamel Allen totaled only six points in the first half, but Beckles (nine points) and Quinones (five) kept the Indians’ deficit manageable.
Rivers, who scored 20 points, opened the second half with consecutive three-pointers that gave Christ the King a 42-27 lead. But Brentwood responded by excelling in transition and producing a 12-3 run capped by Almonacy’s two free throws with 3:58 left in the third quarter.
The Indians’ deficit hovered between six and 10 points until Rivers sank two free throws that put the Royals ahead 65-53 with three minutes remaining.
“We stayed in the ring and we battled,” Brentwood coach Anthony Jimenez said. “I don’t know how the end happened. The end just got away from us, but that’s to their credit.”
Christ the King’s Jose Alvarado, a junior point guard with several mid-to-high-major Division I offers, had 16 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. His defense against the Stony Brook-bound Almonacy played a key role in stifling Brentwood’s offense. For most of the game, Almonacy had trouble penetrating the Royals’ man-to-man defense.
“I just feel like if we were in a team flow, it would have been easier,” Almonacy said. “I didn’t force a lot. I feel like I should have taken more shots, but it’s a lesson learned. He’s a great player.”
Brentwood will face the loser of Friday night’s game between Cardozo and Mount Vernon at 2 p.m. Saturday in the consolation final.