GLEN ELLYN – Jalen Brown can simplify his role to three key areas: “rebounding, defense [and] putback points.”
Brown, a Glenbard South junior, certainly showcased all of that in the Raiders’ 55-41 victory over Glenbard East on Friday.
The 6-foot-2 forward finished with an eye-opening 16 points and 15 rebounds to pace the Raiders, who snapped a four-game losing streak with the win.
Brown opened up the second half with three consecutive buckets to break the game open and build a 14-point lead.
That third quarter surge kept the focus on his team finding him, instead of being an individual effort.
“I feel like it [wasn’t] an individual job. It was my team moving the ball around,” said Brown, who had 10 of his 16 points in the third quarter. “[As] they move around, I’m open [and] the just feed me the ball. It was good ball movement.”
“[Brown] brings a lot of energy and he can be a monster on the boards,” Raiders coach Wade Hardtke said. “He just has a knack to go get it and [has] athletic ability to go with it.”
Brown, perhaps surprisingly, in his his first season of playing varsity basketball.
“He just started playing football, too,” Hardtke said. “He certainly has some athletic ability. He’s learning and growing and starting to put the pieces together a little bit.”
“He’s kind of figuring things out on the fly here,” Hardtke continued. “And, he’s got some incredible abilities [and] traits. It’s just [about] kind of keeping those funneled and keeping those targeted in the right direction.”
The Raiders (3-8, 3-2) also received solid efforts from D’Manuel Payton (eight points, three rebounds), Louie Esposito (14 points, three rebounds) and Harper Bryan (two points, four rebounds).
“[As a team] we had two good days coming in before tonight’s game, so that was good to see,” Hardtke said on the team’s effort.
“[Payton] brings a lot of intensity [and] leadership that we need,” Brown said. “Get things organized; get things in order when we’re down and just kind of of reckless with the ball, so he just gets things in check when we need that.”
“[Payton] is pesky. He’s been consistent with us this season and he’s been growing each game. As a junior, that’s what we need,” Hardtke said.
The Raiders had an 18-point lead heading into the final quarter. Glenbard East was able to whittle it to 12 following Ari Pierson’s three-pointer, but Glenbard South kept the pressure on down the stretch.
Glenbard East (3-10, 3-3) was led by senior guard Tyrese Buffkin’s 14 points and eight rebounds, while Trevor Rehnstrom had 13 points.
The Rams struggled with turnovers, primarily in the first quarter, with eight. They finished with 16.
“[Consistency] has been the story of our season. We just haven’t been consistent for 32 minutes. We’ll have bright spots and then we’ll kind of self-destruct a little bit,” Rams coach Al Biancalana said. “Tonight, we had no answer for Brown. Brown just did whatever he wanted to.”