Newton North star Corey Lowe knew no matter what he did yesterday he couldn't make the packed house in Brockton forget about the Super Bowl that was going to be played later, but you couldn't fault him for trying.
The senior guard had a super performance, torching Brockton for 33 points and setting up teammates Jason Riffe and Darius Abramson for key baskets during a pivotal run late in the game to help the top-ranked Tigers put away No. 11 Brockton, 75-71.
The contest did not start out promising for undefeated Newton North (15-0), which missed its first eight field goal attempts, allowing Brockton to jump out to an early 10-1 lead. However, the Boxers faltered late in the half, as Newton North stuck to its game plan of attacking the interior with senior forward Anthony Gurley, while Lowe fired from the perimeter. The tandem combined for 26 of the Tigers' 32 first-half points and nearly outscored Brockton as North took a 32-27 halftime lead. The lead could have been larger, but North missed six free throws and let Brockton stay close with uncontested shots.
''We got ourselves into a slump early on, I thought the first three minutes of the game and the last three were not our best but the other 26 minutes we were pretty darn good," said Newton North coach Paul Connolly.
In the second half Lowe caught fire and the Tigers turned on the defensive pressure on Brockton's main ball handlers, Robert Sampson and Jimmy Chaudry. North backup guard Larry Brown harassed the Boxers' guards, causing turnovers and not allowing them to get into their set offense.
''Larry gave us a great spark," said Connolly.
Just as North looked to be running away with the game, building a 15-point lead, Brockton (9-4) turned up its defensive pressure and went on a flurry of mini-runs to pull within 6 late. But Lowe was there for the Tigers, finding Abramson for an open layup and an 8-point advantage. Brockton answered with back-to-back buckets before Lowe found Riffe open at the left arc for a 3-pointer to put away the Boxers. Lowe finished with 18 second-half points.
Chaudry led the Boxers with 20 points while Matt Walker chipped in 14.
''We understand people are trying to challenge us and everybody wants to beat us so we just keep stepping up," said Lowe.
Yesterday's Andover-Lowell girls' basketball game was postponed because of the death from heart failure Saturday of Andover boys' soccer coach and history teacher Peter Arthur. He was 32. Arthur also coached baseball at Westford Academy. The game was called Saturday night and will be made up later this month.
Globe correspondent Jeff Schaible contributed to this report.