Brentwood's "flash trap" defense did its job Thursday night, primarily because of flashy sophomore guard Mike Almonacy.
Almonacy scored 26 points, including three tone-setting three-pointers in the first quarter, and made six steals as Brentwood opened its season with a 66-50 victory over St. John the Baptist in the first game of the Fred Williams Amityville Tournament. The Indians will face host Amityville in Friday night's championship game.
Brentwood scored the first 13 points, forcing three turnovers in that span. The Cougars (0-2) then scored five straight points but Almonacy, who had 11 points in the first quarter, nailed a straightaway three to make it 16-5 and St. John the Baptist never got closer.
Another sophomore, Jamel Allen, also had a big game for Brentwood, scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. But Allen's biggest impact was on defense, where he blocked six shots.
Tavon Ginyard, who scored 46 points in the Cougars' opening-game loss last week, managed 21 against Brentwood and had trouble getting good looks. Kyle Williams added 19 for SJB.
"Our key emphasis was to trap Tavon and try to frustrate him," Almonacy said. "We take pride in our defense and it really does lead to offense."
Brentwood's early spurt began with Almonacy's pull-up jumper. Then came, in order: Vincent Smythe's two free throws, Almonacy's three-pointer from the wing, Allen's layup; Anthony Casmir's jumper, and a baseline drive by Ali Mabelton (11 points, seven rebounds). Allen contributed one block during the surge.
"When we're trapping, I have to watch their backs," Allen said. "If I block a shot, they won't come back in there again."
In the second quarter, Almonacy stole the ball from Ginyard, made a slick reverse layup and drew a foul for a three-point play. Allen produced his own highlight moments later, taking an alley-oop pass from Mabelton and converting it into a dunk.
Brentwood blew open the game open in the third quarter, expanding a 41-25 halftime lead to 52-27.
"I was pleased with our defense, not only the intensity but also the rotations," Brentwood coach Anthony Jimenez said. "Mike came out with confidence and he was in a zone early. Once he's there, it's difficult to get him out of it."