Jalen Brown was so good on the football field this season, he likely made spectators double-check their program to confirm that he was indeed a freshman.
He will be forcing similar repeat glances if he performs like this on the hardwood.
The Mountain Pointe youngster was a vital cog off the bench on Thursday night to help lead the Pride to a 75-70 victory over Chaparral on the last day of the VisitMesa.com Basketball Challenge at Mountain View.
Brown scored 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting and added three steals, two of which were picks at half court which he turned into easy layups. Brown also hit 3-of-5 from downtown as Mountain Pointe held off the Firebirds.
“He’s a freshman and some days his age shows,” Mountain Pointe coach Brian Fleming said. “He knows and we know that those days are going to happen. But then he does things like he did today. He didn’t look like a freshman today at all.”
Brown missed the first two games of the year while playing in the football postseason, and Fleming said the football players have only 10 practices under their belt.
Brown said it was a difficult adjustment at first joining the varsity basketball team, but he feels the game is slowing down for him now.
“I think I’ve gotten into the flow after a couple weeks,” he said,
Brown was a key part of a pressure defense that gave Chaparral trouble. The Firebirds were without point guard Luke Roh due to injury, and his absence was glaring. Chaparral committed 13 turnovers in the first half as it struggled getting the ball up the floor to get the offense into a rhythm.
“We want to get pressure on the basketball so they have to make passes that they aren’t used to,” Fleming said. “I think we did that tonight. We mixed up their rhythm.”
Despite the ballhandling troubles, the Firebirds did hit enough shots from 3-point range to keep the game close to the end. Mountain Pointe had a 10-point lead at intermission, but Jake Roh had a 3-point attempt with just under a minute to go that would have tied the game.
He missed, and Steven Knox helped seal the victory with four free throws down the stretch.
Khari Holloway led all scorers with 24 points, hitting 5 3-pointers. Jerome Garrison added 13 points and Tylor Wimbish had 11 and six rebounds for the Pride.
Joe Boyd led Chaparral with 20 points, and Zeke Chapman added 18.
Mountain Pointe finished 2-2 in the tournament, beating Horizon in addition to Chaparral while losing to Serra (Calif.) and Westwind Prep. The Firebirds also went 2-2, beating Chandler and Tucson Amphitheater and losing to Orange Lutheran (Calif.).