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Crater's Matt Brown

MT file photo

It's amazing enough to have two Matt Browns in the same league. But to have them tied for the scoring lead with the same number of points after 12 games is unbelievable. --

Name not all Browns share

CENTRAL POINT -- Mail Tribune readers may have thought they were seeing double -- or a computer glitch -- last week when they saw two Matt Browns atop the Southern Oregon Conference boys basketball scoring list.

But those folks were seeing clearly, and don't need appointments to see an optometrist.

Yes, there are two Matt Browns in the SOC. And both are keeping scorekeepers busy.

By happenstance, 6-foot-2 Crater junior wing Matt Brown and 6-8 Roseburg senior center Matt Brown were tied for the SOC scoring lead entering this past weekend. Both players averaged 20.3 points per game in 12 games.

It's amazing enough to have two Matt Browns in the same league, says Crater's Brown. But to have them tied for the scoring lead with the same number of points after 12 games is unbelievable.

Roseburg's Brown maintained his 20.3 average with 21 points against Klamath Union on Saturday. Crater's Brown scored 32 points in two games and saw his average drop to 19.6 points -- just ahead of Klamath Union's Mark Chocktoot at 19.5.

The two boys are not related and barely know each other. They were introduced a year ago, and met each other on the Roseburg court in a game a week ago when the Indians defeated the Comets. Roseburg's Brown scored 29 points and `He was tough to handle that night, says Crater's Brown. But I caught up with him the next night when he had a bad night (three points).

Because they have the same name and score points in bunches, the Brown boys now know plenty about each other as the battle for the SOC scoring lead rages on.

I was introduced to him last year, and we talked a little, says Crater's Brown, who is one of the premier long-range shooters in the SOC with his 3-point shooting percentage of 56 percent (23 for 40) entering Crater's two weekend games.

He asked me who named me, or something like that, says Brown. We agreed it's a total fluke to have the same first and last names.

The scoring heroics of the two Browns are anything but flukes, although they score points in different ways. Roseburg's Brown is an inside banger with a soft shooting touch for a big man. His skills have already earned him a scholarship to play for the University of Texas next year.

Crater's Brown plays the game far differently. He's a wing man who normally draws tough defensive assignments and is asked to rebound and distribute the ball as a passer by Comets coach Matt Meunier.

We need him to do a lot of things for us, says Meunier. He's a hard worker who responds well to what we need him to do. If we need him to work on his ball handling or to play better defense, he always gets right to work on it.

But what Brown does best is shoot. The son of Tom Brown, a former University of Nevada player, Matt learned to shoot under the guidance of his father on a hoop in the family's driveway in Central Point.

I would be out there shooting by the hour, says Brown. My dad made me learn to shoot the ball right, but we had a lot of fun doing it.

He's the reason I became a good shooter. I've seen film of him shooting in college, and our shots look exactly the same.

Brown's younger brother, Mike, is a freshman in the Crater boys basketball program. He's also known as a pure shooter, and has the same picture-perfect release as his father and older brother, according to Meunier.

There's no doubt the old man can fire the rock (basketball), says Meunier. And he's taught his kids well. I'm grateful for that.

Meunier, quite shooter himself while at Crater and Southern Oregon University, averaged 29.9 points a game for Southern Oregon as a senior in 1991 to rank fourth in the nation at the NAIA Division II level. Having a shooter coaching another shooter works out well, Brown says.

We go against each other, says Brown. He's a good matchup for me. I haven't beaten him many times. Yet.

When I beat him, we usually have to stay out and play again until he wins.

Meunier has a different version of the story. If he beats me, he usually tells me he has homework to do and needs to go home, says Meunier.

Brown says winning the SOC scoring championship isn't important. If we could make the (state) playoffs as a team, I'd rather do that than be a scoring champion, he says. I'm not trying to score as much as I am.

Meunier, a first-year coach for the Comets who replaced Dave Orr prior to the season, says he's surprised Brown is scoring as much as he is.

We look for him because he's one of our best shooters, says Meunier. But we don't try to work the ball specifically to him that much.

We have unselfish, good kids and they work the ball and run our offense. It has ended up in Matt's hands a lot with him open because we have several other players who are threats to score.

The Comets start 6-foot-3 Mike Jacobs at a forward position, 5-10 Jason Korthals at point guard, 5-11 shooter supreme Jake Stickley at a wing and 6-5 Matt Harthun at center.

Stickley is a great standing shooter, and Matt is a jump shooter from the outside, says Meunier. We have a point guard (Korthals) who is a pure point because he passes first and shoots second. Jacobs is shooting 53 percent for the year. And Harthun may be our best passer.

Meunier says Brown needs to work on getting quicker and playing better defense to follow his father's lead and play college basketball.

He has the body to play college basketball, says Meunier. Because he works so hard on things, I think he has a good chance to play.

That's the way Brown, the high-soaring and high-scoring Comet, keeps getting better.

, driving past Eagle Point's Phill Garrett, is one of the SOC's top scorers.