Poly senior goes for 44 as No. 3 Engineers bounce City (VIDEO HERE!)
by Derek Toney
The referee lofted the basketball up for the opening tip and Justin Lewis’ right hand tapped it over to Rahim Ali.
Ali bounced the ball and sent it to the basket where Brandon Murray went up and put the ball through for an alley-oop dunk.
It was the perfect opening statement for Poly High Monday against City College. And for Murray, it was the start of the best individual performances of the season.
The senior shooting guard finished with 44 points as the third-ranked Engineers defeated the host and No. 5 Knights, 77-69, in a Baltimore City contest in front of a packed gym in Northeast Baltimore. Bryce Lindsay added 11 points for the Engineers (17-2 overall).
The Cold Spring Lane school showed why it’s the best team in Charm City, leading by 19 points in the first quarter. Poly, which clinched first in the city league’s B Division will face fourth-ranked Lake Clifton, the A Division first-place team, Feb. 25 at Morgan State University’s Hill Field House for the city championship.
Against their centuries-old rival, the Engineers wanted to make a statement in their first challenge since a loss to St. Frances Academy at Hill Field House nearly two weeks ago, costing them the area’s No. 1 ranking.
“I thought our execution was at a different place then it was last weekend,” said Brand, referring to the 57-53 loss to the reigning MIAA A Conference and Baltimore Catholic League champion St. Frances. “We’ve locked in on a few things and how we do them and the way we executed them early today was the key.”
“We knew we had to battle back after the loss to St. Frances, going hard everyday in practice,” said Murray. “We know the outcome is going to be outcome.”
The end result Monday for Murray: 18 of 21 from the field, seven of eight on 3-pointers. He had 30 points in the opening half.
City had 31.
“The Castle on the Hill,” belonged to Murray.
Poly plays Forest Park Friday followed with a matchup Saturday with nationally-ranked IMG Academy from Florida in the inaugural East Coast Bump mixer at UMBC. The Engineers, who’ve won three straight Class 3A state titles, garnered their first national rankings several weeks ago only to relinquish it after falling to St. Frances.
Poly 24 22 19 12 – 77
City 6 25 16 22 – 69