Boys Basketball: Waubonsie’s Brownridge caps stellar career
By Paul Johnson For Sun-Times Media March 5, 2013 12:28PM
Neuqua Valley coach Todd Sutton offers words of encouragement to Waubonsie Valley senior Jared Brownridge after the Wildcats beat the Warriors last Friday night. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 7, 2013 6:24AM
Neuqua Valley’s revelers were savoring a regional championship last Friday night at Oswego East, while Waubonsie Valley’s players and supporters were coming to grips with the end of a season.
Amid all of that chaos, there was Neuqua coach Todd Sutton at center court with his arm around Waubonsie senior Jared Brownridge, who just poured in 33 points to keep the Warriors close.
“I know I’m considered the opposing coach, but I’m a fan of Jared Brownridge,” Sutton said.
“I’m just a fan. I’m in their gym on a Tuesday night and I’m just watching in total awe. Game after game, year after year, I’m a fan of him.”
Even though it was Neuqua that came away with the 69-61 win and a berth in the Class 4A Bolingbrook Sectional this week, Brownridge’s name was on the mind after the performance he put forth.
He missed his first three shots, helping Neuqua jump out to a 10-3 lead. But when Brownridge got going, so did the Warriors. He hit four free throws and his first two of six three-pointers to help Waubonsie rally to an 18-12 lead early in the second quarter. He then opened the second half with another three as Waubonsie tied the game at 31-31.
“He’s got a laser-guided shot that goes right to the bottom of the net, no matter where he’s at,” Sutton said. “It’s unbelievable.”
Neuqua’s resulting 16-0 run wound up being the difference, but Brownridge wasn’t done.
He scored 15 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter. It wasn’t enough for Waubonsie to get back into the game, but it provided his fans one last quarter of his brilliant play to go home with.
“Jared is in that special category,” Waubonsie coach Steve Weemer said.
“He’s going to be the second leading scorer in our school history, over 1,600 points. The thing about Jared is that he works so hard. He’s a humble kid. His parents have done a tremendous job of raising him. He’s just a tremendous young man. He makes the game so much fun. You don’t have those types of kids every year like that. I enjoyed the heck out of coaching him.”
Brownridge, who is headed to Santa Clara in the fall to begin his college career, spent considerable time with his teammates and coaches in the locker room after the game.
Everybody from Weemer on down was emotional after the loss, maybe none more so than Brownridge.
The affable Brownridge made it less than a minute speaking to reporters before breaking down.
“We all played hard,” Brownridge said. “They all played hard and it was fun playing with all of my teammates this year.”
He then moved into a sea of embraces from family members, friends, teammates and coaches, knowing that this chapter of his career was over.
Everybody in the gym realized they were watching something special, however knowing that from now on, they’ll have to catch the show on television from 2,200 miles away.