Desert Pines senior Lorenzo Brown signed a national letter of intent in December to play defensive line for the University of Montana’s football team.
Doesn’t mean he can’t play a little high school basketball, though.
Brown doubles as a bruising forward on the Jaguars’ basketball team, and he bullied his way to a team-high 17 points in an 80-49 road victory over neighborhood rival Sunrise Mountain on Thursday night.
“I just like winning,” Brown said. “I’ve been playing basketball my whole life. I fell in love with football, (but) basketball is real fun for me.”
Especially since he’s good at it.
Brown scored a pair of early baskets and helped Desert Pines (8-7, 1-1 Class 3A Sunset) break down Sunrise Mountain’s 2-3 zone defense with his movement and activity.
The Jaguars led 15-4 after the first quarter, forcing the Miners to switch to an equally ineffective man-to-man defense.
Desert Pines employed its motion offense, and feasted on defensive breakdowns with dribble penetration. Sunrise Mountain (8-8, 0-2) struggled to generate offense against the Jaguars’ sturdy 2-3 zone, and resorted to long contested jump shots.
Brown said Desert Pines wanted to bury Sunrise Mountain in the first half, and the Jaguars built a 30-14 halftime lead.
“We had a long talk at practice about setting the tone early and playing the entire 32 minutes,” Brown said.
Desert Pines rolled in the second half behind a steady dose of Brown, and guards Hasani Pullens and Donovan Word, who finished with 16 points and 14 points, respectively.
Jaguars coach Michael Uzan said Desert Pines, which graduated 11 seniors from last year’s team, looks to returners Brown and Word for leadership, especially in conference play.
“They’re picking up on what they’ve seen in the past. They’re picking up the leadership from those guys,” Uzan said of his seniors. “We need as many league games as we can get to try and get the mileage up.”
Steven Adeyemi led the Miners with 19 points.
Contact reporter Sam Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @BySamGordon.