E.A. held a 16-11 lead nearing the end of the first quarter, before an 11-0 Warriors run put Magna Vista up six at 4:58 in the second quarter. The Eagles trailed, by as many as seven points, for the remainder of the quarter and were behind 37-33 at the half. Curry had 10 points at halftime, on 4-for-7 shooting.
Thanks to the strong play of senior guard Bryan Burney, who finished with 20 points, the Eagles fought back to a tie twice in the third quarter and grabbed their first lead, albeit briefly, at the 1:13 mark. The Warriors answered right back and held a 52-50 advantage at the end of the quarter.
During the break, an animated Curry was encouraging his teammates.
Moon explained, "He was saying, ‘We can win this basketball game – let's take it to them.'"
Though his teammates had already done more than their share, scoring 34 of the team's 50 to that point and exhibiting the extra hustle needed to stay with their bigger, and often times faster, opponents.
"Once my teammates starting hitting some shots, it opened up my game and I took it from there," Curry said. "It was my time to take over."
And that's exactly what he did, with a spectacular performance over the next five minutes that left Magna Vista's collective heads spinning.
Right out of the break, Curry drilled three three-pointers in the first two minutes of the quarter. After a Warriors basket, he hit a jumper from the top of the key, a long two-pointer on the next possession and then on the successive play grabbed the rebound and pushed the ball up court to draw the foul with 4:14 remaining.
"Again, he didn't try to do too much," Moon said. "He's giving us what we need – and they're all good shots."
Curry hit both free throws, completing a 17-4 Eagles run for a 67-56 lead they wouldn't relinquish. He'd score the team's next four points on a jumper and two free throws, meaning he had 19 of the team's 21 points through five minutes of the quarter. He totaled 21 in the fourth, on 6-for-7 shooting (3-for-3 from three) and 6-for-7 from the line.
"I have to give him freedom," Moon added. "He's a great player. There are times I grimace on a shot or pass, but I have to give him his freedom. Think how much he does for us and how good he's going to be. I can't restrict him."
In the opening round Thursday evening, Curry put up big numbers in the first quarter to keep his team in the game. Friday's fourth-quarter performance put the game out of reach.
"We've got to win and I've got to do whatever it takes to win," Curry said. "Whether in the first quarter or fourth quarter – we've got to win."
His final numbers were 37 points (13-for-20 from the field, 5-for-9 from three), four assists and four rebounds.
Curry halted the team's postgame celebration in the locker room before it could even get started.
"Hey! This ain't over y'all," he shouted.
Eastern Alamance will play the hometown team here in Danville, George Washington HS, Saturday at 7 p.m. in the tournament title game. GW has won the Holiday Shootout eight consecutive years.
"There's absolutely no pressure on us, but we're here – we've earned the right to be here," Moon said.
For archived stories on Curry, head to the JamesOn Curry profile.