Feb 23, 2013 1:52 AM by Andrew Masuda
The Knights battled back from a 14 point third quarter deficit to take a one point lead in the fourth quarter, but Brentwood regained control to end the St. Joseph boys basketball team's season in the CIF semifinals with a 54-46 win on Friday.
Brentwood, the 2nd seed in Division 4A, improved to 27-3 and face top seeded Pacific Hills next week in the title game. St. Joseph, the third seed, dropped to 22-8.
The Knights, who were making their first CIF semifinal appearance since 2004, trailed 13-10 after the first quarter. Keith Datu's rebound and putback made it a one point game early in the second quarter. The Knights' went ice-cold from there and Maxwell Kupchak, the son of Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, nailed a three right before the buzzer to give Brentwood a 26-14 lead at the break.
The Knights fell behind by as many 14 in the third quarter when their offense came to life. Case Bruton, who came into the game averaging 22 points per game for the Knights, hit 2 three-pointers to help the comeback. He finished with 10 points.
Datu added 12 points.
Curry Parham sparked the comeback for the Knights. He hit a bucket and was fouled late in the third quarter. His free throw made it a 38-30 game after three quarters. Parham, a junior, erupted for 11 points in the fourth quarter, to finish with a game-high 16 points.
With the Knights down by one with four minutes to go, Bruton was fouled shooting a 3-pointer. He made two out of the three free throws to give St. Joseph a 40-39 lead with 3:57 to play. After Brentwood regained a 2 point lead, Parham scored and was fouled. His free throw once again gave St. Joseph a 43-42 advantage with 3:10 to play.
However, the Knights went cold again on their next several possessions, while the Eagles could not miss. They went on a 7-0 run to regain control and end the Knights' postseason run.
Leland King and Tra Holder, Brentwood's leading scorers who came in averaging 45 points per game combined, finished with 13 and 14 points respectively. Junior Yonathan Napoleon added 12 points for the Eagles.
The St. Joseph gymnasium was standing room only. In fact, fans were turned away because the gym was at capacity.
The Knights are holding out hope for an at-large berth into the CIF State Regional Tournament. The top two finishers in each CIF division are guaranteed spots in the Regional Tournament. However, some teams that lost in the semifinals, like Mission Prep last year, are granted at-large berths. The brackets for the State Tournament won't be announced until next weekend after the Southern Section finals.
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