HUTCHINSON, Kan. Because Brian Green has a baby face and is only 5-foot-11, SLCC coach Norm Parrish laughed last week about how NJCAA tournament opponents might think it was nice that the Bruins let their team manager take shots with the squad in warm-ups.
Two games into the tourney, the Bruins' opponents might instead be wishing the undersized shooting guard from Fruit Heights would have spent a whole lot more time getting SLCC players water.
If he keeps up his hot play, Green just might have a bunch of Division I coaches asking him to be their (wink, wink) team manager.
After scoring the go-ahead bucket in the Bruins' opening-game, come-from-behind win over Vincennes University and leading SLCC with 15 points Green put on an even more dazzling display in Wednesday's quarterfinal.
The sophomore sharpshooter, who was a 5A first-team all-stater at Davis High two years ago, topped the Bruins with 23 points in their shocking 74-45 walloping of Southeastern Illinois College in front of an impressed Hutchinson Sports Arena crowd.
Green had the sizzling touch in the first half, when he scored 20 points and lifted SLCC to an untouchable 41-20 lead. He finished hitting 7-of-9 shots, including 5-for-7 from 3-point range.
"That was a fluke," Parrish said jokingly. "No. He had some good looks and knocked them down. He's done that pretty consistently all year."
Green, who averages 13.9 points and shoots 48.7 percent from 3-point land, punished the Falcons time and time again while coming off his teammates' nicely executed screens beyond the arc. He couldn't put words to what it feels like when you're in a zone like he's been in.
"You can't really explain it," said Green, who also had 27 points in SLCC's Region 18 title win over Southern Idaho. "It's just from practicing every day. I was just hitting my shots."
Like his coach, Green said the Bruins' tenacious defense often dictates what their offense is going to do. On Wednesday, both aspects of the game were smoking for Green and SLCC.
"Usually when I play harder on defense then my shots kind of fall, same as the whole team," he said.
D FOR EFFORT: SLCC players must have terrible shooting percentages in practice. Holding Southeastern Illinois to 25.5 percent shooting Wednesday and only 45 points didn't impress Bruin forward Vassy Banny all that much.
"Compared to the way we practice, I don't think our defense was great. I would say it was good defense, but we can play better defense," he said. "And that's how we practice. We practice even harder than this. I always say the way you practice is the way you play."
GOOD HAIR DAY: Winning by 29 points Wednesday after leading by as many as 38 is apparently better for SLCC coach Norm Parrish's head than having to make a furious late-game rally like the Bruins did Tuesday.
"My hairline didn't change like last time," he said jokingly.
CALLED TO COACH: SLCC assistant coach Russell Beck is having a missionary homecoming of sorts. He served in the Missouri-Independence Mission from 1998-2000, including 3 1/2 months as a district leader in Hutchinson, Kan. One of the first things he did after the Bruins made the NJCAA tourney was to call old friends from the local LDS ward to drum up support for his new team."It was actually one of my favorite areas in my mission," he said. "I'm excited to (be here) obviously it's for a different reason (now)."
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