In Teagan They Trust | Senior Leader Powers Oak Ridge
High School BasketballHigh School Sports FeaturesSac-Joaquin Section January 26, 2022 Jim McCue 0
Teagan Brown Is The Consummate Leader For An Oak Ridge Girls Basketball Team That’s NorCal-Ranked And A Legit Section Title Contender •
In her four years on the Oak Ridge varsity basketball team, Teagan Brown has attracted recruiters and spectators alike to El Dorado Hills. The 5-foot-11 guard fills up the stat sheet on a regular basis.
She cares little about being the main attraction.
“She’s just special,” longtime Oak Ridge coach Steve White said. “When you have someone that can be assigned to shut down the opponent’s best player, and yet you rely on her to be your best offensive scorer, that’s special. It’s just not the Teagan Show, it’s how do we do this as a team? And she brings everyone together.”
White spoke those words after the Trojans handled visiting Whitney-Rocklin despite a relatively off night for Brown. The senior, who will play collegiately for the University of Washington, did not score a point until there was less than a minute remaining in the first quarter. But her influence on the game was evident in more ways than just scoring.
Tasked with slowing down the Wildcats’ 6-foot-3 sophomore forward, Taylor Peterson, Brown hounded her taller opponent and created plenty of opportunities for her teammates. The Trojans’ guard covered the whole court to contribute to an 18-8 lead after one quarter with four steals and three assists in the first eight minutes.
“I’m thinking rebound, get the offensive board so I can get the easy bucket and get myself on a roll,” she said of her slow scoring start. “I just focus on getting defensive deflections and steals to get my team rolling.”
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Brown would finish with a solid all-around stat line of 13 points, 7 steals, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds—short of her career averages of 17 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, but right on par with Oak Ridge’s steady win rate.
The Jan. 19 victory over Whitney improved the Trojans’ record to 15-4 and 4-0 in the Sierra Foothill League, and kept Brown and her teammates’ sites on reclaiming the league title they last won in pre-pandemic 2019.
“It’s my last year and I want to put it all on the court,” Brown said of her final high school season. “If I can rally the team around that and get them all fired up, then we can go far. We want to go deep in the playoffs and win section, but we just want to fight all of the way through the entire season.”
The COVID-altered and shortened 2020 season was challenging for Oak Ridge and Brown, who missed out on valuable pre-league tournament play to allow the team to acclimate before SFL and postseason play. With only league games in an abbreviated 12-game season, growing as a team was difficult.
“It was hard because we couldn’t gel,” Brown said of the 2021 campaign. “We had freshmen starting, so there were lots of players that had not played together before.”
The Trojans did peak toward the end of last season, but momentum was hard to come by. So was the anticipation of Brown’s senior season.
Oak Ridge has benefited from a return to relative normalcy with December tournaments, including the long-running Lady Trojan Toss-Up on their home court. Brown and her teammates appear primed for the type of postseason run that the program has become accustomed to.
When Brown was a sophomore, the Trojans captured the SFL title and advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Final before falling to St. Mary’s-Stockton 56-45. Brown got her first taste of postseason success that season, but was still coming into her own as a complete player.
“I didn’t have any idea that I could play college basketball until my sophomore season,” Brown said. “I started playing AAU and my coach said that San Jose wants to call, and I said ‘I can do this. I can play college basketball.’”
While the 2021 season took valuable on-court repetitions away from high school players everywhere, Brown continued to develop her game in anticipation of her last run before spreading her wings and heading to Seattle.
“You always hear about the Kobes, the LeBrons, the Jordans who constantly work on something to make themselves better the next year,” White said. “(Teagan) has definitely had that mindset, and has an incredible work ethic — on the court, off the court, and in the classroom.”
As far as on the court goes, White marvels at the growth of Brown’s game over the last three-plus years.
“In the beginning, she was a good slasher and teammates could find her and she could finish at the basket,” White said. “She has just expanded her game to where she can handle the ball, beat you off the dribble, hit a 3, pull up, post up. She’s just really developed a complete game at this level.”
Becoming a complete player is not surprising for a budding star that has looked up to local hero Danielle Viglione. The Del Campo High star was a two-time State Player of the Year out of Fair Oaks before filling up buckets for the University of Texas and the WNBA’s Sacramento Monarchs.
“She has been a real light in my life, and has taught me to work hard in basketball and in my faith,” Brown said of Viglione.
Oak Ridge will continue its quest for a league title and long postseason run with five more games down the stretch, including a third chance to defeat SFL rival and undefeated Folsom in the regular season finale for both teams on February 11. Folsom edged the Trojans by five, 42-37, on Jan. 21.
In the end, though, statistics will not define the heights that Brown and the Trojans reach.
“We don’t ever talk about numbers and she buys into that,” White said. “She can still get 20 points or grab 10 boards per game, but she’s more than that.
“Her personality is incredible. She’s a goofball, she’s a leader — by example and vocally. She’s just the complete package.”
In the end, that’s what attracts people to Teagan Brown.
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