Brentwood put every state Class AA public school boys basketball program on notice Sunday.
The Indians, who have been to two of the past five state title games, again are a threat to get back and this time maybe win the last game. They sent that message by dismantling Section I powerhouse Mount Vernon in the second half for a 73-59 victory in the Gary Charles Hoop Classic at Adelphi.
“It definitely felt like a state tournament game,” senior point guard Kenny Lazo said. “And like in state tournament games, they go to the team that makes the most of its possessions. Our main goal is to go back to the championship game and win it, and we have to play this way.”
“Mount Vernon was a great test for us,” Brentwood coach Anthony Jimenez said of the 11-time state champion Knights, who have won the Section I crown 16 of the past 19 years. “But we have to play every game like it’s a tournament game. There are good teams all over our section. We have to prepare ourselves for that pathway.”
The play of junior swingman Jordan Riley and the Brentwood full-court press turned the contest in the third quarter. With the score tied at 33, the Indians (10-1) erupted for a 19-6 run in the final 5:30 of the quarter and essentially put the game out of reach.
Riley had nine of his 20 points in the burst on a three-point play, a pair of sweet pull-up jumpers and a rim-rocking dunk that nearly brought the house down.
Senior forward Alan Houston scored 12 points, sophomore guard Zatai Townsend had 11 points — often on the break — plus four assists and Lazo added nine points and six assists for Brentwood. Troy Hupstead had 16 points and Orlando Dawkins added 11 for Mount Vernon (7-6).
Riley had another three-point play and found Townsend on the break for a layup on the first two Indians possessions of the fourth quarter to push the advantage to 57-39. With two minutes left, Brentwood opened its biggest lead at 71-50 when Riley lofted the ball up for Isaiah Randolph to throw down a one-handed dunk that had people in the stands running down to courtside.
“It’s a fun way to play and we get the fans going,” Riley said. “We can do what we did today against anybody. We will keep working to be the best team we can be.”
LuHi rolls past Amityville
Long Island Lutheran scored 19 of the game’s first 22 points and never allowed Amityville to get into the game in a 75-50 victory. Andre Curbelo had eight of those 19 points.
“No disrespect, but [during warm-ups] they were talking to us a lot, telling us how they were going to take it to us,” said Curbelo, an Illinois signee. “We made a statement with how we started. It said that when we play our game, nobody is beating us.”
Ohio State-bound Zed Key was named the game’s MVP after scoring 20 points. Rafael Pinzon had 18 points and Curbelo added 16 for the Crusaders (12-2), who are still awaiting the return of Cal-bound forward Jalen Celestine from a leg injury. Divaahd Lucas and Darnell Evans scored 12 each for Amityville (8-2).