Thursday, February 26, 2015

Laney defeats East Hall 92-67; advances to Final Four





Senior Jashawn Brooks scored 25 points to lead Laney
I try to put meaningful information and insight into my posts about area basketball.  I have commented about Laney countless times this season.  Not once have I asked for a particular player's point total after a Laney game.  The number of points scored by one player is never the story behind Laney's success, in my opinion.  But tonight I had to double back and find coach Buck Harris to ask how many points senior Jashawn Brooks scored.  His 25 points led the Wildcats to a 92-67 third round win in fellow number one seed East Hall's gym.  Brooks's barrage of threes was the story tonight.  Kind of.  Let me explain.

That a player with Jashawn's size, athleticism, and basketball smarts has a shooting stroke as sweet as his is noteworthy.  But there are so many noteworthy things about Laney's team that it is easy to lose track of the gifts of any one player.  Brooks's three pointer that swished right as the second quarter buzzer sounded put Laney ahead 39-27.  And this was just the beginning of an array of bombs from the senior leader as Laney would score 49 points during the game's next 12 minutes before nursing its 20+ point lead in the game's final minutes.

Coach Buck Harris had high praise
for junior point guard Zep Jasper 
But as well as Jashawn played, there were long stretches of time when other Wildcats carried the offensive load.  Junior Collin Young gave his team an early ten point lead with a string of key baskets during the first half.  And the Wildcats exploited a matchup advantage inside by isolating senior Jaylen Taylor, who finished at the rim consistently.

A key to all of this scoring coming from all of these sources was the control of the offense exhibited by junior point guard Zep Jasper.  Coach Harris shared an interesting tidbit after the game when he commended Jasper's play against East Hall's full court pressure.  Zep handled it so well that I told Buck I didn't even notice he was facing a full court trap!

No player on Laney's team averages more than 13 points per outing.  So many different guys have made winning contributions during the team's 27 game winning streak.  I would predict anyone who saw Thursday's game would tell you Brooks was on fire.  But they may not immediately guess that he scored a ton of points.  That's because when it comes to Laney, a team in the truest sense of the word, a single player scoring a lot of points is never the story.  Even when it kind of is.

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