Girls Basketball: For Brown, hoops is 12 months a year

GEORGE FAELLA PHOTO | Riverhead point guard Jalyn Brown is spending her summer playing in Long Island and New York City.

If you think the winter is the busy basketball time for Riverhead High School point guard Jalyn Brown, then guess again.

It’s actually during the summer when the senior-to-be fast breaks from one end of Long Island to New York City to hone her skills for the upcoming high school season and showcase her talent for interested college coaches. On the weekdays she plays for the Riverhead team that competes in the Town of Brookhaven Summer League. On the weekends, she plays for New York City Elite, which plays in an Amateur Athletic Union league in New York City.

In other words, she is all over the place this summer.

“Yeah. I play 12 months out of the whole year,” Brown said.

Just about.

Unlike other high school students who might participate in two or even three sports during a year, Brown is a one-sport athlete.

“Just basketball,” she said. “I’ve been playing basketball for all my life.”

GEORGE FAELLA PHOTO | Melodee Riley of Riverhead shot over a Sachem East player on Monday.

Well, most of her life. Brown said she started playing the game when she was about 6 years old. She got her passion for basketball from her father, Keith Brown, a one-time Riverhead High School player who continued to play the game when his daughter was growing up.

Her father did not have the opportunity to watch Brown play at Sachem East High school on Monday night, but her mother and brother did.

Brown and the Blue Waves did not have the best of games as Sachem East recorded a 47-19 victory. The all-Suffolk County point guard finished with six points, off her 14.9 average from last season, and several assists.

“We don’t have our whole team and some of the other teams don’t have all their players because of vacation or summer,” Brown said. “This is not our whole team. When the season starts we’ll be ready for whatever.”

Brown loves to play for the fun of it and, of course, for the competitive aspect as well.

“I’m really competitive,” she said. “I want to win all the games, but if you don’t win, hey you’ve got to take a loss. But I always want to win.”

Even in a summer recreation league.

But Monday’s game offered a little incentive. Sachem East eliminated the Blue Waves from the playoffs last winter.

“I take it really personally because that’s the team that knocked us out last year in the playoffs,” Brown said. “We really wanted to get them back. … We don’t have all our players to beat them yet, but maybe next season coming up we’ll get them.”

If there is a slow or down time for the 5-foot-4, 115-pound sparkplug, it is usually in September when Brown will work with a personal trainer. In October, it’s time to prepare for the upcoming high school season, with league games through February and hopefully playoff games running through March.

Riverhead Coach Dave Spinella, who coaches Riverhead in the Brookhaven league, did not have to be reminded about Brown’s worth to the team.

“She’s our captain,” he said. “She’s our point guard. Everything flows through her.”

There are night when Brown might not have a lot of points, but it’s the little things, stuff you don’t necessarily see in a game summary that makes her so invaluable to the team.

“She takes charges, finds the open person,” Spinella said. “She defends usually one of their better players. She runs the show.”

After high school, Brown wants to run the show at a college, just like her favorite NBA player, point guard Derek Rose, does with the Chicago Bulls.

“He’s a good point guard, always has his head up,” Brown said. “He looks for the open person and is a good drive-and-kick person. He runs the show on his team. That’s what I want to do.”

Brown has yet to pick a college, but then again she has plenty of time, with high school not starting for another month and a half. She wants to major in physical therapy or athletic training in college.

“But mostly I want to go to school for basketball,” she said.

Given what Brown has put into the game over the years, that is not surprising at all.