At 6-5 and a muscular 205 pounds, Bryce Harris has the build to make a dent. The Brentwood junior certainly left an impression on Elmont and those in the Uniondale High gym Sunday for the Richard Brown Nassau-Suffolk Challenge.
Harris was the undeniable force with 30 points and 15 rebounds as the Indians pulled away from the Spartans late in the second quarter and rolled to a 72-58 non-conference victory. He had a dozen points in the second, including five in the 2:35 before halftime when Brentwood (14-0) reacted to their only deficit of the game with 13 unanswered points for a 37-26 lead at the break.
“He’s an incredible physical specimen, but this season he is learning what his strengths are,” Indians coach Anthony Jiminez said.
“Last year, I played like a bull, just trying to use my emotion and make plays. It didn’t work,” Harris said. “I am still a bull, but I have the emotion under control. I can pick my spots and then execute in those spots.”
It’s the reason that Stony Brook already has offered a scholarship and “a bunch of mid-majors,” as Harris said, are already expressing interest.
“He’s a great player and when he brings his ‘A’ game like today, it’s huge for us,” point guard Kenny Lazo said. “He kills people with his inside game and has a jump shot and a three-pointer.”
Jordan Riley added 14 points and Romello Wright 12 points for Brentwood. Jaiyetoro Gordon-Younge scored 12 and Gus Louis added 10 for the Spartans.
As well as Harris played, the most significant thing Sunday may have been the way the Indians responded when speedy and resourceful Elmont (10-3) used aggressive defense and a slippery quick fast break to turn what had been a nine-point deficit into a 26-24 lead on Jonathan Maldonado’s baseline jumper with 2:46 left in the first half.
The Indians scored on their next six possessions with five different players putting up the points. Jiminez said that last season, when Brentwood fell in the Suffolk AA semis, his club might not have handled the adversity so well. Now predominately juniors, “we trusted each other; we know things won’t be perfect but know we can persevere anything together,” he said.
“A year ago, I don’t think we had the team chemistry to get through that,” Riley said.
Added Lazo: “we believe we can win against any team if we can keep our composure when it gets tough.”