Austin Curry thought he might have had a chance to attend Dartmouth and contribute heavily to the basketball program.

That opportunity never fully presented itself, though, and now he's not sure what's going to happen.

"Really, I just want the best education possible," he said. "I want to go to a great school and then play basketball if that can work out. I'm thinking of going to a Division I school and trying to make the team as a walk-on. If not that, there's always Division III and I'm being looked at by a bunch of those schools."

If not Dartmouth, pursuit from a similar school might be forthcoming. Especially if he continues to perform as he did last night in the championship game, played at Norristown High, in the Triangle Club of Montgomery County Holiday Basketball Tournament.

Curry, a 6-foot, 170-pound senior point guard, scrambled for 20 points and three steals as Germantown Academy bested La Salle, 57-43, in a performance that eventually won him co-MVP honors with teammate Cameron Ayers, who is bound for Bucknell.

We say "eventually" because the PA man first announced that another GA starter, Jim Hammer (six points), would be sharing the award with Ayers.

Someone quickly alerted him to the mistake and Curry's name was then announced.

"I was a little surprised," Curry said, smiling, "but I was happy for him. It would have been all right."

Said Hammer: "I didn't hear [the first announcement]. We were slapping each other's backs, having fun and and just enjoying the win and then coach [Jim] Fenerty was saying, 'Hey, Jim . . . " while guiding him toward the middle of the floor.

"Jim went like, 'What? Me?' " Fenerty said. "That was pretty crazy."

So is the idea that Curry could possibly attend school while not playing basketball. He has worked hard to become a prime Patriot and his energy level is way up there.

"Well, if I did go D-I as a walk-on, I'd be working hard in practice every day and helping my teammates get better," he said. "I'd really push myself. I couldn't see myself being satisfied to sit the bench for 4 years. Maybe 2-3, but I'd eventually want to be out there."

In this one, halftime arrived with GA holding a 19-15 lead in a rather uninspiring contest.

Curry said Fenerty's halftime talk centered on the fact that the Patriots needed to play at a faster pace. He was not required to say that twice.

"I'm not really a fan of walking the ball up," Curry said. "I like when other teams pressure us. Our big guys had speed on them. We really tried to push the ball, and things worked out. I love when teams try to pressure us. We can handle it."

Curry was quite the whirlwind in the second half, scoring 15 of his points. A key moment was when he launched a left-corner trey. La Salle's Kevin Piotrowicz got a piece of the ball, but then made contact with Curry. He hit two of the three resulting free throws.

Curry next took a charge on the Explorers' key threat, Eddie Mitchell, and that act seemed to energize the Patriots even more. He followed by passing to Jake Beil for a top-of-the-key jumper and two more points were added when Hammer nailed two free throws.

It wasn't over, at 33-22, and La Salle in fact hung around until maybe two-thirds of the way through the fourth quarter. But Curry had shown all in attendance that he did mean business, and that he was going to make sure his team did, too.

Thanks largely to 10-for-10 marksmanship at the line, Ayers scored 16 points while raising his career total to 1,050. He also claimed eight rebounds. Beil had eight points, four rebounds and two steals while Beau Jones mixed five boards and two assists.

"We have real good chemistry," Curry said. "We love each other. No one's thinking, 'I'm gettin' mine.' It's not about [individual] points. It's about the team getting a win."

Mitchell (12) was the only Explorer in double figures. Brennan Woods added eight points and six rebounds while 6-9 Steve Collins claimed eight boards. La Salle had to go without quality guard Troy Hockaday (illness).

Curry, who lives in Jamison (Bucks County), formerly played soccer, but has been an all-hoops kind of guy for a while.

"I keep trying to get better," he said.