Brown takes control to lead Lift For Life past East St. Louis in Soulard Shootout finale | Basketball Girls
SOULARD — Lift For Life women’s basketball coach Greg Brown was eager to get in his car Saturday night after the Hawks’ hard-fought 53-40 win over East St. Louis.
This is because he always gets a phone call from his playmaker daughter Taylor when she had a good performance.
“If it’s not, I call him,” Greg Brown said. “Somehow we talk on the way home from different cars.”
Taylor certainly made the call this time.
The 5-foot-7 Spark had a game-high 24 points, including 14 in the final 5 minutes 58 seconds of the Sixth Annual Soulard Shootout’s closing game on South Broadway.
Taylor put the team on their toes by leading the Hawks on a 15-2 run that turned a 33-32 deficit into a 47-35 lead.
The lightning-fast blitz lasted just over three minutes.
“She can take control really quickly,” said Lift For Life sophomore Chase Giddings.
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In the blink of an eye, a tight nail biter turned into a runaway.
“We kind of slowed it down,” Greg Brown said. “Then Taylor Brown went to work.”
Dad will have nothing but praise for his daughter this time around.
“After (tough) games he will call me in my car and tell me what I did wrong,” Taylor said.
It won’t be necessary this time.
Taylor Brown drilled a 3-pointer just over two minutes into the final period to give Lift for Life the lead to stay 35-33. She followed with a steal and a lay-up 23 seconds later before Paige Fowler scored from close range for a 39-33 advantage. Taylor Brown stepped in with an old-school 3-pointer and Giddings capped the blast with a 3-pointer that gave the hosts control.
“The team was down, we had to pick things up,” Taylor Brown said.
Life For Life (10-7) has won for the seventh time in its last nine games. The reigning Class 3 state champions face a tough schedule with all of their losses to teams with winning records. Four of the setbacks came against teams outside the zone.
“If we want to improve and win again, we have to play against good teams and hold on,” said Greg Brown.
East St. Louis used junior Shakara McCline’s play to take a one-point lead early in the fourth quarter. McCline finished with a team-high 20 points.
“We definitely had butter fingers, we couldn’t keep the ball,” Flyers coach Shardae Butler said.
The teams traded leads nine times in the first three periods, with none leading by more than seven points.
The Hawks just walked away on the stretch with a near-perfect five-minute basketball segment.
“It was good to see,” Taylor Brown said. “It’s good that we can play like that when we need to.”
Life For Life is looking to defend the first national basketball title in school history.
Brown and fellow senior Mackenzie Wilson return to add experience.
“I think we should be able to do it again,” Taylor Brown said.
Giddings added, “Games like this give us the confidence to do anything.”
Soulard Showcase: Elevator for Life 53, East St. Louis 40