Clovis News: Sports

Central High boys hoops team fights to the end

They call him "Rocky," which is easy to understand when the fight gets tough.

And this occurred to Rakim Brown's third-ranked Central team Tuesday night at No. 2 Buchanan, when the Bears -- down 19 points and nearly knocked out early in the fourth quarter -- turned the latest Tri-River Athletic Conference showdown into a brawl.

They hacked the deficit to six while trapping the Grizzlies into a fluster, having the athlete everyone knows, Jackson Carbajal, come to life and having another hardly anyone knows, Kenny Castle, nearly suck the life out of Central.

Then the Rocky counterpunches like few can throw in the Central Section. Maybe none other, not at 6 feet, 7 inches.

"That's what I do," Brown said after figuring in every point in a 7-2 run that restored control for Central in a 79-72 victory.

The senior finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds, six steals and five assists.

And it was the depth of that game that surfaced in the clutch as the Grizzlies (17-4, 4-1) closed the TRAC's first round one game behind top-ranked Clovis East (20-5, 5-0).

In the 7-2 surge, expanding a 67-61 lead to 74-63 with a minute to go, Brown scored on an aggressive drive that found him on the floor; stole the ball and assisted Anthony Trammell, who was fouled and made a free throw; dunked on a feed from Devin Duke; and stole another ball and assisted a Trammell layup.

"Coach [Loren LeBeau] asked me specifically before the game: 'Rocky, do you have my back?' I said, 'Yeah, Coach,' and I showed him. He called me a closer [last year] and that's what I'm here to do -- close the game."

Tejeshwar Ghuman, making three 3-pointers, and Trammell each scored 15 points for the Grizzlies, who will return home to play No. 4 Clovis West (14-5, 2-3) on Friday.

Buchanan (15-6, 3-2), coming off a 72-63 loss at Clovis East only three nights earlier, received 28 points from Alex Fertig and 18 from Carbajal, including 13 in the fourth quarter.

Related stories from Fresno Bee