BRANDON BROWN is not one of those basketball players who tries to keep track of his statistics while the games are unfolding.
But with a big grin on his face, the 6-2, 195-pound senior power forward/center provided an immediate, though approximate, answer Thursday when asked to pinpoint one of his stats from a Public B game.
"About five," he said.
Points? Nah. Rebounds? Not quite. Blocked shots? No way.
Like every coach, C.M. Brown, the veteran boss at Engineering and Science, wants to defeat his opponents. He also wants to deflate them. To sap them of every last hint of energy. Bore them to death, even.
The score of the Engineers' meeting with visiting Freire Charter was 42-29. Not at halftime. After all 32 not-exactly titillating minutes.
The stands were filled to roughly 85 percent of capacity. All those spectators truly stirred just once, when E & S guard Sibley Robinson made a steal and scampered three-quarters' court for a layup that provided a 16-12 lead.
Otherwise? Mostly zzzzzzzz.
"Coach Brown doesn't like a lot of threes and crazy jump shots," said Brandon Brown, who's no relation to C.M., a k a Charlie. "He's really strict about moving the ball around to get high-percentage shots, mostly in the paint if we can. We're looking for high-lows or post-ups.
"After we take our time on offense, we really play defense. We try to keep teams in the 30s."
In time, Brandon was describing his role with the team.
"Um, to rebound, to post up and to pump-fake," he said.
He added: "I'm also one of the captains. I have to make sure to lift the guys' spirits if we're down for any reason."
Brown and varsity ball go 'way back. He first surfaced as a freshman and even owned a starting job as a soph. Well, briefly.
"I lost my spot after the first few games," he said. "I didn't know how to play offense and defense the way coach wanted me to. I didn't take my time enough.
"I can't say I was that disappointed. The guy who took my place was a senior, so that was OK. Seniors usually are the main guys on teams, anyway. Plus, I knew I had 2 years left. When I got to 11th grade, I knew exactly what I had to do, and I got my starting job back."
Brown finished with nine points (all in the second half), eight rebounds and two assists. He was also part of major balance: Dijon Eggleton and Sibley Robinson (four steals) also scored nine points, while Tahjere McCall exploded for 11. In the rebound column, Eggleton and Omari Franklin joined Brown with eight and McCall claimed six.
Speaking of rebounds . . . Freire almost got through the first half with only one guy managing to dent that column. Jahyde Gardiner swept 10 (en route to 13 overall). With 2 seconds left, McCall missed a layup, and the ball was deflected to guard Brian Williams, who gained possession maybe 12 feet up the lane.
Brandon Brown has no problem playing C.M.'s style.
"The idea is to win," he noted. "You're not playing for yourself out there. You're playing for your team and your school."
Sounds reasonable, but does he cut loose in gym class?
"Oh, yeah," he said, laughing. "In there, it's street ball. We're just having fun, flying up and down and trying to dunk on each other."
And then . . .
"If coach Brown walks in, we'll all go, 'Yo, coach Brown's here.' And we know to dial it back down. We'll even hear him yelling, 'What are you doin'?! Play defense!' "
Ultimately, only four guys scored for Freire, and Carlton Wright (12) led the way. LaQuan Alston posted three steals.
Brown, who lives on East Dorset near Woolston, in Mount Airy, is working on his skills for an expected college change to small forward, or even wing guard. He's receiving Division III interest, owns a 3.1 GPA and plans to major in sports management or information technology.
Here's hoping the hoops will be exciting. Though, really, doesn't winning make that happen, no matter the method?