Ever since Mical Boyd was switched from point guard to forward four games ago, the junior has sizzled for Half Hollow Hills West.
Did his brother Matthew, a sophomore who moved from sub to starting point guard, light the fuse? "No, I'm just doing what the team needs," Mical Boyd said.
What the Colts needed Thursday night was Mical Boyd's 23 points and aggressive defense to defeat host Deer Park, 68-56, before a crowd of more than 700 that jammed the gym and spilled into the parking lot, where about 50 fans were turned away.
The full house created a jazzy atmosphere for a game that left both teams at 10-1 and tied for first place in League IV. But it was Hills West that held two aces. Emile Blackman complemented Boyd's performance with 18 points, overcoming a tough-shooting first half to score eight in the fourth quarter.
Blackman came up biggest when the game was on the line. It was tied at 47 entering the fourth, but Blackman gave the Colts a lead they would not relinquish with a fast-break slam off Matthew Boyd's feed. Matthew Boyd overcame a shaky first half to contribute five assists in the second half and team with his brother for several steals in an effective 1-3-1 halfcourt trap.
"Our defense was the difference," Mical Boyd said. "We came with a lot of intensity. We lost the first game and we had something to prove."
Blackman's three-pointer from the wing made it 60-52 midway through the fourth. Deer Park, which received 26 points from Keith Williams, did not threaten again.
"If I'm not shooting it, other guys will," Blackman said. "My guys can score. It says 'Together' on the backs of our T-shirts and that's how we play."
The Colts converted 26 of 31 free-throw attempts and Deer Park was 2-for-6, a nod to Hills West's aggressive drives and opportunistic defense that sped up the pace. The new lineup is working well, too.
"Once we put Matthew at the point, Mical has averaged more than 20 points a game," Hills West coach Bill Mitaritonna said. "Matthew is a great distributor, but tonight was his first big test. The team is more unselfish now."
Still, in the biggest spots, the ball finds its way into Blackman's hands. "In the last five games, Emile has taken complete ownership of this team," Mitaritonna said.
But as the T-shirts attest and Blackman insists, it's joint ownership.