Derek Brown Jr. Scores 24 in Flu Game

With six teams tied for first place in the NWAAC, tonight’s contest was a huge game for the EvCC Trojans Men’s basketball team. Playing Skagit Valley at home proved not an easy task, and it took everything the Trojans could muster to pull away with a 78-75 victory. Anyone who followed NBA in the ’90s has heard of Michael Jordan and his infamous flu game in game five of the 1997 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz. This was a similar type of game for Derek Brown Jr. of the EvCC Trojans. Brown may not have had 38 points in the NBA Finals, but he did put up 24 huge points to elevate his team to a big league win over the Cardinals at home.

This was done after running a 104 degree temperature, the day before the game against Skagit Valley and having a 101 degree temperature at gametime. Having the flu is rough on anyone laying around the house, let alone playing a complete basketball game and leading the team in scoring.

The Trojans started this game against the Cardinals strong, unlike their previous match ups in the league, where they had to fight just to get back in the ball game. However about midway through the first half, the Cardinals regained the lead and kept it for most of the second half. EvCC was down by seven at halftime, but shot consistently well for the entire game, hitting 42.9 percent in the first half and 43.8 percent in the second half.

EvCC came out after halftime with a spark that they normally have to start the half, except this time the opposing team in the Cardinals matched them bucket for bucket. This was with Brown coming to the sidelines repeatedly coughing up mucus and clutching his chest, doing everything he could to keep from throwing up. The game was getting intense with the Trojans down eight points and under five minutes to play. Then Quadir Williams hit two huge threes and eight of his teams next ten points to put EvCC back up by two.

With the scoring continuing back and forth, Noah Jones hit two clutch threes to put the Trojans in the lead 76-73 with 2:30 left to play. Williams spoke about his slow start to the game and said “The shots weren’t dropping in the first half, but coach keeps saying catch and shoot so that’s what I did. They started going down after that.” Williams also came up with a clutch steal towards the end of the game, to help close out the Cardinals.

When asked about his teams play Coach Larry Walker said, “Quadir played well in the second half and we had some huge threes from Noah Jones, which has been the difference between the beginning of the year and now. If we can get Jones scoring we will be tough.” The game for the Trojans was put away with full court pressure, forcing another steal. This gave the Trojans their third league win on the season.

It wasn’t just the flu that was weighing heavy on Brown . “Man I have been sick for a few days now, at halftime I kept having flashbacks of my mom, because today was the one year anniversary of her death, along with my pops dying the day before the Peninsula game. They are what pushed me through, and I know my mom was watching from above.” Brown finished with a team high 24 points.

The EvCC Trojans will face Olympic College on the road this Saturday, Jan. 23 at 6 p.m.