ROTTERDAM — Mohonasen coach Graham Macbeth and his boys’ basketball team knew that any chance of pulling off an upset win Tuesday night depended on their ability to contain Division I prospect Royal Brown.
They did — but only for a half.
“Our game plan was to make him miserable,” Macbeth said. “Our thing was, ‘Let’s guard him baseline to baseline and sideline to sideline.’ We practiced it, but it’s different when the guy is in the gym and the lights are on.”
The Brown-led Tigers answered a third-quarter run by the Mighty Warriors with one of their own, and used that burst as a springboard to a 75-57 Colonial Council win.
“Like Coach says, ‘Basketball is a game of runs,’” said Brown, the Tigers’ 6-foot-2 junior shooting guard who notched 37 points for the second straight game and is averaging just over 33 per outing. “I wasn’t too worried about it when they made theirs. Then, it was our turn.”
Cohoes scored 11 straight points to start a game-breaking 16-2 spurt after Mohonasen got within six in the third quarter at 42-36. Brown delivered 13 of those 16 points capped by a flying, one-handed slam dunk that made it 58-38.
A career 1,000-point scorer who has received college offers from schools such as Miami, Seton Hall, Creighton, DePaul and Texas A&M, Brown managed 14 first-half points before netting 23 in the final two quarters. That included 18 third-quarter points.
“He comes into every game with a big target,” Cohoes junior forward Bryce Hancock said. “He knows he has to trust his teammates. He usually spreads it out in the first and second quarter, and he explodes after that.”
Brown’s output Tuesday featured eight 3-point baskets, half of them coming in the third quarter when the state’s No. 12-ranked Class B team (8-1 league, 11-1 overall) turned the contest in its direction. Cohoes collected 13 3s in all.
“The points are cool and all, but I’m most concerned with winning,” Brown said. “If I’m not scoring, I’ll look to do other things.”
Cohoes coach Jeff Huneau is seeing the Colonial Council all-star do more and more.
“Every time he steps on the court, I see improvement,” Huneau said of his 11th-grade standout, who added eight rebounds and four steals. “As a team leader. The mental stuff. Seeing the game. He was out there pointing and getting guys matched up on defense.”
Mohonasen (3-4, 3-8) had played strong defense in its four games before Tuesday, averaging just over 42 points allowed while winning three of them.
“We take pride in our defensive identity,” Macbeth said. “The disappointing thing is we gave him [Brown] too much room on too many shots. A player like him, every shot needs to be contested.
“I am leaving here in awe of a great player, but we’ll improve.”
Jordyn LaValley sank a pair of 3-pointers and layup in a 14-5 run for Mohonasen to begin the third quarter. The junior’s second 3 made it 42-36 with 3:40 left.
“We always talk about starting the second half right,” Huneau said. “That didn’t happen. We came out a little flat. We gave up a few rebounds. Our defense was only so-so. They made a run.”
Brown started Cohoes’ counter push with a 3 and a drive after Marquay Tanksley blocked a shot at the other end. After Hancock and Brown nailed 3s, and Andrew Farnsworth scored on a drive for Mohonasen, Brown dropped in another 3 and put down a jam after taking a long pass from Hancock.
“It all starts with defense,” Brown said. “We were locked in, and defense led to offense. We shared the ball and got open shots.”
Brown’s buzzer-beating 3 ended the third frame and gave the Tigers a 63-42 advantage.
“As a team we thrive on bouncing back,” Hancock said. “During that run, we had multiple defensive stops. That’s where it started.”
Hancock scored 12 of his 18 points in the first half and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Shamier Fairley scored nine of his 13 points in the first half and contributed five assists.
“I thought early in the game they were beating us up on the glass,” Huneau said. “We had to dig in. When I called a time-out, before I said anything, they were saying it to each other.”
LaValley paced Mohonasen with 13 points and three steals, Farnsworth had 12 points and 10 rebounds, Tyler Oleksiak had 11 points, and Kyle Cornell added 10 points.
Cohoes 18 19 26 12 — 75
Mohonasen 10 12 20 15 — 57
Cohoes scoring: Ra. Brown 3-0-7, Ro. Brown13-3-37, Fairley 6-0-13, Hancock 5-5-18. Mohonasen scoring: Cornell 4-1-10, Farnsworth 5-2-12, Coats 0-1-1, LaValley 5-0-13, Oleksiak 2-7-11, Batcher 3-0-7, Paolino 1-0-3. Scoring totals: Cohoes 27-8-75, Mohonasen 20-11-57.