BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — Bryce Harris swore the hoop was getting bigger.
The Brentwood junior said he felt as if he could sink any shot Friday night — and he did a good job of that, scoring 26 points to lead the Indians past Kingston, 74-63, in a state Class AA boys basketball semifinal at Maines Arena.
“During shootaround, the stroke felt good and everything felt like it was going in,” said Harris, who scored eight points in the second quarter and shot 9-for-18 overall. “It translated into the game, and when my team told me that I made a big difference during the game, that was incredible.”
Brentwood (22-2) will face Section III’s West Genesee in the final at 9 p.m. Saturday. It will be the Indians’ first championship appearance since 2015.
Brentwood brought a 48-41 lead into the fourth quarter, but Kingston closed within five when Jimmy Moot drained a three-pointer with 3:51 left.
The Indians focused on taking care of the ball down the stretch. “We wanted to value each possession,” Brentwood coach Anthony Jimenez said. “We had a few mistakes, but we knew what we did, and we corrected it so we were able to get that flurry of scoring.”
Harris, Kenny Lazo and Jordan Riley were a combined 12-for-14 from the free-throw line in the final 3:11.
“We fight through adversity very, very well,” Harris said. “We’ve come up short the past two years and we know how that losing feeling feels, so we never want to do it again.”
Brentwood settled into a rhythm early in the second quarter, finding holes in Kingston’s zone. The Indians, working the ball into open spaces through inside-out looks, opened the quarter on an 11-2 run to grab the momentum.
“The whole time we’ve been preaching to our kids that we have to attack the basket,” Jimenez said. “We’re looking to get the ball from the foul line to the block, and I think that opens things up in other places for us, too.”
The offensive success helped the Indians settle into their game plan and, according to Jimenez, allowed them to execute on defense. Brentwood held Kingston (24-3) to three field goals in the second quarter and took a 35-27 lead into halftime.
“The core of our success is our defense,” Jimenez said. “They really locked in here.”
The Indians have one more challenge and an opportunity to capture the program’s first state championship.
“These guys want to win,” Jimenez said. “They have an unshakable belief in themselves and in this team. There’s great chemistry from top to bottom. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”