ALBANY -- As the only freshman on the Sherwood Christian roster, M.J. Vangure wanted to make an impression somehow this season.
If there's any question how much of an impression he could have, Vangure has already answered that in just two games. The sharpshooting youngster scored a game-high 18 points Friday to lead the Eagles to a 55-46 win against Brookwood School in non-region play.
"We like him a lot," Sherwood's first-year head coach Gavin Felix said of Vangure. "He's been doing it consistently early in the season. We know we can definitely count on him to play big minutes."
Vangure, who was playing at Radium Springs Middle this time last year, had to play most of the night after starter Rashard Davis was ticketed with his fourth foul early in the second quarter.
Senior Terrance Burnette also had four fouls in the fourth quarter.
"(The foul trouble) put pressure on our defense, but we handled it," said Vangure, who also scored 16 in the Eagles' season-opener earlier this week. "I knew I'd make an impact, but I didn't know it would be like this."
Sherwood (2-0) opened up a 16-5 lead in the first quarter with buckets from Vangure, Burnette, Gary Holloway and Patrick Stanford. Brookwood (1-2) battled back after Sherwood got into foul trouble, cutting the lead to 34-27 at halftime.
But Vangure drained a three against Brookwood's 2-3 zone midway through the third quarter to put Sherwood back ahead by double digits, 42-31.
"I like (zone defenses)," Vangure said. "It lets me shoot the 3."
With two players in serious foul trouble, Felix employed a wait-and-see offense to start the fourth quarter. Sherwood's first-year coach instructed his point guard to stand with the ball near halfcourt and hold it for as long as the defense would allow.
Brookwood head coach Brad Piazza looked over at the Sherwood bench in disbelief and allowed the Eagles to stand with the ball for more than three minutes before pressuring.
"We were up nine," said Felix, who has used the strategy several times in the past. "If they're not going to pressure the ball, we'll hold it to the end."
It didn't much matter, either way. Sherwood only turned the ball over five times on the night and ran the floor with efficiency. Pittman, one of two senior starters, scored eight points, but also collected nine rebounds and two blocks. Stanford finished with 11 points, while Davis had 10 in the win.
Brookwood was led by Thurman Walker's 16 points, while Matt Barnes added 11. Taylor Bragg was a force in the paint and gobbled up 15 boards.
Sherwood travels to Westwood on Tuesday, the first of three road games next week.
Brookwood girls 72, Sherwood 46:
Sherwood wanted to contain Brookwood's Lauren Johnson and they succeeded.
But only for a half.
Johnson was held to eight points in the first half and the Lady Eagles used a 12-0 run to end the second quarter to pull within 10 at halftime, 28-18.
Then Johnson erupted. The Lady Warriors' senior scored 25 in the second half to finish with 33 points, seven rebounds and five steals, while Sherwood committed 34 turnovers and fell apart in the third quarter. Johnson had averaged almost 26 points in the first five games and scored 10 in the third quarter to help Brookwood (5-1) outscore the Lady Eagles 22-8. Hannah Notaro scored 13 points for the Lady Warriors.
"Our game plan was to (limit Johnson)," Sherwood first-year head coach Mike Sons said. "I was happy with the way we played early on."
Sherwood (1-1) got a monster game from senior Kaylee Dixon, who filled the stat sheet with 16 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks. Freshman Maggie O'Connor had 15 points and nine rebounds, but the Lady Eagles were playing without senior Princess Williams, who has been ruled academically ineligible until further notice, Sons said.
"We just want to get better every game, every day," said Sons, whose team practices daily against the boys' B-team and doesn't have enough players to field a girls' B-team.