In the final and perhaps finest game of his outstanding career, Brentwood center Jamel Allen looked across the court at a jubilant Half Hollow Hills West team and said, “They were better tonight. They deserved it.”
Allen was superb with 40 points, but Hills West was, simply, super. The No. 3 Colts dethroned two-time defending Long Island and Suffolk AA champion No. 1 Brentwood, 86-69, Tuesday night, to win the Suffolk AA (Large School Championship) before an SRO crowd of more than 2,200 at Suffolk CCC-Brentwood.
Deven Williams led a stable of stellar Colts with a career-high 28 points, including 16 in a 30-point fourth quarter. “We prepared well and we came out with intensity,” Williams said of Hills West’s statement-making first quarter when it built an early 10-point lead that steadily grew to as many as 22 early in the fourth quarter.
Kian Dalyrimple scored 18 points and Cam Jordan and Richard Altenord added 13 each for Hills West (20-2), which will play for the Suffolk Overall Championship against Harborfields on Friday at 8 p.m. at Stony Brook and then for the Long Island Class AA title in a state regional final against the Nassau winner on March 6 at 3:30 p.m. at LIU Post.
Brentwood (19-3), cut the deficit to 70-63 with a furious rally sparked by Allen, who scored 31 points in the second half, including 19 straight for the Indians at one point. He brought the huge crowd to its feet with a spectacular shake-and-bake crossover move that he finished with an acrobatic one-handed slam. “He’s an amazing player,” Hills West coach Bill Mitaritonna said.
Allen’s brother Rahmel followed up the dunk with a three-pointer that made it a seven-point game. “At 70-63, I was scared to death,” Mitaritonna.
His team, however, had plenty of life. The Colts were well aware that both Jamel Allen and Brentwood’s other senior star, Stony Brook-bound Mike Almonacy (nine points) each had four fouls. “We just attacked,” Dalyrimple said.
Dalyrimple, Williams and Altenord drove for easy baskets as Jamel Allen, who had four blocks in the first half, had to allow the layups. “We knew their two all-world players had four fouls,” Mitaritonna said, “so we kept attacking. We knew if we got close to the basket, they couldn’t foul.”
Brentwood had defeated Hills West in the Suffolk AA final last year and Dalyrimple acknowledged that was a motivation all season. “This means so much because it was our goal from the start,” he said. “Brentwood is a real class act. If we had to beat anyone, I’m glad it was them. “
Mitaritonna revealed that after the game, during the emotional scrum at midcourt, “Jamel and Michael hugged our guys, wished us good luck and told us to win the states.”