Luke Brown has been a revelation for the Blackford Bruins the past two seasons.
After a sensational freshman campaign was cut short due to injury, Brown has been even better in his second season, lighting up the scoreboard no matter what defenses teams through at him.
Despite a tremendous effort, the Mississinewa Indians were unable to keep Brown contained for long, dropping their second straight contest with a 73-59 setback on Friday evening.
The Indians got off to a tremendous start early, scoring 25 points in the opening quarter and keeping Brown stifled to the best of their ability. However, the Indians were never able to pull away, struggling at the charity stripe for the entire evening.
“We had a four or six point lead and a chance to really take the game a few times, and we just couldn’t hit free throws,” Mississinewa Head Coach James Reed said. “We were six-of-17 on the free throw line, and if you give Luke Brown another chance, you’re asking to have a rough time.”
Brown certainly made them pay.
With the Bruins nursing a two-point lead, Brown made an unbelievable shot that changed the course of the game. With the ball going out of bounds, Brown corralled the basketball, hoisted up a prayer, and watched the ball fall, sending the Blackford crowd into a frenzy and grabbing all the momentum.
“He’s got the mental part of the game. He’s got the physical part of the game,” Reed said. “We are going to play a lot of great players this year, but by far, I think that he is the best player we will play this year. He has a motor and a work ethic that is unseen. I mean we are talking Damon Bailey kind of work ethic.”
The Indians were unable to recover from that miracle shot, and despite all their best efforts, they were unable to get over the hump.
Brown finished the game with 39 points on 13-of-23 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and five assists, while Brandon Stroble came away with 15 points, three rebounds, and two assists. Dalton Willmann was a force on the glass, collecting a game-high 16 boards.
“We played our hearts out, I’m so proud of our guys,” Mississinewa Head Coach James Reed said. “Luke Brown had an unbelievable night. The kid is legit. This kid is a special, special talent. He’s a one-person team. It is unbelievable what the kid does. This is a big time basketball player, and we were ready for that and we were prepared for that. But we weren’t prepared for their role players to just be lights out. We knew [Brandon] Stroble was a good player, and he just had some tough shots and they went down.”
Despite the loss, Reed is still confident in his team and their abilities.
Now, he is just looking for his team to get back to believing that themselves.
“We’re close – they are just a couple of issues to fix,” Reed said. “When things got tough, we got a lot of quick shots. I don’t even necessarily think they were bad shots, but they were quick, and [so] weren’t playing offense, we were just playing defense the whole game. We just need to get our rhythm and our confidence back. Even though we lost tonight, we gelled, and as a program, we made a lot of progress.”
Tai McClung led the Indians in scoring with 23 points, while Anthony Horton finished with 14 and Heisman Skeens collected 11.