Scoring 1,000 points in the game of basketball is a tremendous accomplishment.
Reaching the milestone in a conference championship clinching triumph is even sweeter.
Grant Brown eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau midway through the fourth quarter on his way to a career-high 29-point performance, as the Madison-Grant Argylls captured the Central Indiana Conference championship with a 60-37 rout of the Alexandria Tigers on Friday evening.
With the win, Madison-Grant won their first conference title since 2012, and their first outright title in program history.
“That was one of the goals we set at the very beginning of the season,” Brown said. “We knew coming in it wasn’t going to be easy either way. From the first game to the last game, we were going to have to work for every single game. We didn’t want to share first place with anybody. We wanted to come in here, take care of our work, and own it.”
Brown, the Argylls’ multi-faceted, gifted point guard, played a major role in the historic victory, taking over the contest in the second half. Twenty-two of his 29 points came after halftime, and he missed just one shot – a free throw – in the final two quarters of action.
Additionally, Brown became the second Argyll this season to reach the 1,000-point threshold, joining fellow backcourt mate Kaden Howell.
“I love Grant Brown. I love all of our guys, but Grant is a special student athlete,” Madison-Grant Head Coach Kevin Cherry said. “He’s got a 4.0 GPA. He’s a high academic achiever. He’s a really, really good basketball player. I can’t say enough good things about him. He is a special young man.”
A four-year starter for the Argylls, Brown has flourished on the court throughout his high school career, making a plethora of big-time shots and jaw-dropping passes. Under Head Coach Kevin Cherry’s leadership and guidance, Brown has taken his game to a different level in his senior campaign, and on Friday, all of his hard work paid off.
“It’s special. That’s all I can say about it,” Brown said. “It just means a whole lot to be on that board, but I couldn’t do it without my teammates.”
While Brown’s remarkable second-half performance led to an eventual comfortable victory, there was not much scoring from either side in the contest’s early stages. Alexandria tried to run a ball-control type offense in the first half in an attempt to slow down Madison-Grant’s high-octane attack as well as force the Argylls into defensive miscues.
However, the Argylls dominated on the defensive end of the floor, forcing 10 Alexandria turnovers in the first half and holding the Tigers to just 12 points on five made field goals. In the second quarter alone, Madison-Grant held Alexandria to just three shots.
“We knew we were [going to] have [limited] possessions [because] Alexandria was trying to hold it a little bit and slow things down for us,” Brown said. “We knew every possession mattered. Back on defense, we knew we had to work for it and get stops to be able to go down and execute on offense.”
Madison-Grant trailed 8-5 after the first quarter and 12-10 midway through the second. But for the next quarter-and-a-half, the Argylls thoroughly dominated the contest. The Argylls ended the first half on an 8-0 run and held the Tigers off the scoreboard for the final 4:31 of the period.
“Defensively, I thought we were really, really good and locked in for all 32 minutes,” Cherry added. “We’ve been preparing all week, and we implemented the gameplan just about flawlessly.”
Jase Howell, who has a penchant for making game-changing plays, made another one in the waning seconds of the second quarter. After Brown scored to give the Argylls a four-point lead, Howell stole Alexandria’s subsequent out-of-bounds pass and scored with less than 30 seconds to go, giving Madison-Grant an 18-12 lead at halftime and putting the contest, firmly, in the Argylls’ hands.
“Jase brings a lot of energy,” Brown said. “He doesn’t ever run out of energy. He’s everywhere at all times. It’s great to have him offensively and defensively. He’s a great playmaker, a great hustler, and just a great overall player for us. He helps us win a lot.”
After an uncharacteristic first half in which he forced shots and never seemed to be comfortable, Brown came out of the locker room a completely different player, one brimming with confidence, and it showed on the court.
“Grant was really good in the second half. He was playing under control, playing off two feet, making the right reads, drawing the extra defender, and [playing with] confidence,” Cherry said. “That’s the Grant Brown that we expect.”
Brown found his stroke from the perimeter, knocking down a pair of threes, while also driving to the basket with authority, initiating contact and finishing well around the rim. He finished a perfect five-for-five from the field and two-of-two from the foul line, scoring 14 points, as the Argylls increased their lead to 43-18 after three quarters of play.
“In the first half, I wasn’t hitting, and I’ve recently been in a little shooting slump,” Brown said. “I went into the locker room and just got myself mentally prepared for the second half. I just fixed my mechanics mentally, and just went out there and imagined the ball going through the hole. It helped me get going.”
While Brown scored seemingly at will, the Argylls, as a whole, did a much better job of attacking the basket and finding open shooters. In the third, Madison-Grant shot nine-of-14 and three-of-six from the three-point line to extend their advantage to 43-18.
The Argylls went into cruise control from there. Brown scored seven more points in the final frame, and Madison-Grant led by as many as 34 points before eventually securing the 23-points triumph.
Jase Howell finished as Madison-Grant’s second-leading scorer with nine points, while Kaden Howell finished with five.
For Alexandria, Jagger Orick led the way with 10 points, while Kole Steward scored seven points all of which came in the second half.
The Argylls completed a significant goal on Friday evening —winning the CIC championship.
Now, the focus shifts to the tournament, and winning their first sectional title in four years.
“I’m really happy for our community, I’m really happy for our program, especially our seniors, and our student body,” Cherry said. “It means a lot. We are going to enjoy it tonight. But now, we’ve checked this box. It’s on to the next goal, which is starting to prepare for sectional.”