Growing up playing feeder basketball together for years, and now as sophomores starting together on varsity at Waukegan, Bryant Brown, Ja'Dyn Brown and Jordan Brown have become as tight as brothers.
Just to mess with people, they could tell people that they actually are brothers. Triplets even. The Browns are all the same age, and share the same last name.
But they, in fact, are not blood brothers. Just part of a funny coincidence.
"We're brothers from another mother," Bryan Brown said with a laugh. "But we are like (family). We get along really well and we have a lot of fun."
The Browns" certainly had fun on Saturday night, leading host Waukegan to a decisive 61-37 North Suburban Conference victory over Libertyville.
Bryant Brown, who is playing his second year on varsity and started last year as a freshman, led the way with a team-high 17 points, Ja'Dyn Brown had 10 points and Jordan Brown had 6 points. The Bulldogs, who snapped a three-game losing streak and improve to 13-7 overall and 5-3 in the conference, also got 16 points out of senior DeShawn Davidson.
Libertyville drops to 9-11 overall and 5-3 in the NSC.
"We had a rough week of practice after losing three straight games," Bryant Brown said. "We just hadn't been playing well. Everything was just going downward. We were looking at this game as a boost-up game for us.
"We weren't playing together, or playing team defense or crashing the boards during that losing streak. We just got away from it. We did that better tonight. Most of it is just playing hard and effort."
Waukegan got off to an 8-0 lead and was up 13-3 before Libertyville called its first timeout. The Wildcats closed the gap to a 6-point deficit by the end of the quarter and were down 25-21 at halftime.
The Bulldogs extended their lead to 13 points in the third quarter but really pulled away early in the fourth by opening the quarter with a 13-4 run.
Waukegan got hustle points with pressure defense that caused 10 Libertyville turnovers and with relentless rebounding that resulted in 17 offensive rebounds and many second-chance points.
"Everything good that happens for us comes from high effort and we just had to get back to that," Waukegan coach Ron Ashlaw said. "Playing good defense and rebounding on both backboards are effort statistics. All we've been talking about at practice lately is our effort. Rebounding and (defense causing turnovers) are sources of defense for us."
Defensively, Waukegan had its hands full with Libertyville junior guard Drew Peterson, who pumped in a game-high 19 points. He was the only player in double-figures for the Wildcats. Peterson is ranked third in the state of Illinois by 247 Sports for the Class of 2018. He has offers from UIC, IUPUI, Kent State, Loyola, Tulane and William & Mary.
"He is a great player," Bryant said of Peterson. "We've played (Libertyville) three times now (once over the holidays). First time, (Peterson) had like 28 on us. Second time, he had only (Brown chuckled) 18. He's just really, really good."