Kalani Brown’s game growing as she gets taller

WESTWEGO — She has his height — or did she get it from her mom?

Probably both.

While Kalani Brown, a sophmore center at Salmen High School, played Friday night in the Allstate Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic, her mother, Dee, an assistant coach, signaled instructions from the bench and her dad, P.J Brown, a former NBA player, watched from the bleachers.

The younger Brown grew two inches during the offseason, taking her to 6-foot-5. And as her game continues to sprout, she could take the Spartans one game further than last season’s near-championship squad.

On Friday, Brown led Salmen with 13 points to advance to the girls championship game at the Alario Center. Teammate Meagan Bush added eight for the Spartans, who improved to 14-1.

“We executed the press, and defense really mattered in this game,” Brown said. “We got off to a slow start, but the game got better as we went on.”

At 6 p.m. Saturday, Salmen will face the winner of Friday’s late game between Warren Easton and John Curtis. The game offers Brown yet another opportunity to showcase potential that could make her one of the most coveted Louisiana girls basketball recruits.

This season, she has improved her body control, which includes shooting from her right side, not just her left as in the past. Brown has also improved her free- throw shooting.

Playing with aggression — finding a balance between being a likeable, outgoing sophomore off the court and on it, a dominating player, even more than she always is — she’s still working on that.

Sort of.

“It’s not fun when you’re all serious,” she said in-between grins, as if she could hear her P.J. Brown’s advice ring in her ears. “You’ve got to have some kind of fun now and then, crack a smile.”

Salmen is trying to return to the Class 4A championship game, where the Spartans lost last season to St. Thomas More.

Riverside 54, Bishop Verot 41: Charvon Julien scored 13 points and Jordan Andrews added 12 points, allowing the Rebels to take a 34-18 halftime lead. Riverside will play in today’s championship game at 7:30 p.m. against the winner of John Curtis and Shelden High School of Florida, which was played late Friday.