Written by Corbett Smith
5-8 Brown’s 3-pointer sparks late surge that carries Newman Smith past Highland Park
CARROLLTON — Highland Park cut Carrollton Newman Smith’s 13-point lead to one midway through the fourth quarter. The game was slipping away, and the tension in Newman Smith’s gym reflected it.
For a minute-long stretch, both teams frantically pushed up the court — Highland Park trying to take its first second-half lead — until the ball ended up in the hands of the smallest player on the court, Newman Smith’s 5-8 point guard, Darion Brown.
Brown’s corner 3-pointer settled frayed nerves and stopped Highland Park’s run, and Newman Smith pulled away for a 66-54 win Friday night and a share of the District 10-4A lead.
“Momentum changed right there,” Brown said. “We got up big early in the third quarter but let up a little bit, and they got back in it. But big shots win big games.”
Including Brown’s 3-pointer, Newman Smith (16-5, 10-1) scored 14 consecutive fourth-quarter points, giving the program its first win over Highland Park since 2010.
Two big runs were the difference for Newman Smith — which started the game making four of its first 17 shots. Led by Brown, leading scorer Deondre Burns and forward Sherman Parker, Newman Smith closed out the first half on a 22-8 run, with Brown hitting a buzzer-beater at the end of the second quarter.
Highland Park (24-4, 10-1) finally shook from its doldrums midway through the third quarter, down 39-26 after another Brown 3-pointer. Highland Park forward Derek Cahn and post Clayton Murtha used their size to get second-chance points or trips to the free throw line. A put-back by Murtha cut Highland Park’s deficit to 49-48 — and set up Brown’s big shot.
Burns led all scorers with 20 points, 10 off free throws, while Brown added 17 points and five assists. Murtha led Highland Park with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
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