Followers of college basketball in the region used to wonder what happened to Randy Brown. Now they hear about the Valley College forward's exploits on a regular basis.
Brown, a former All-City Section player from Kennedy High who returned to action this season after a redshirt year, scored 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds Saturday to lead Valley past Glendale, 70-57, in a Western State Conference South Division game at Valley.
For Brown, a 6-foot-5, 190-pound sophomore, the game-high totals mark the latest effort in what is becoming a standout season.
"I'm kind of surprising everybody," said Brown, who transferred to Valley two years ago after playing in a backup role at Ventura. "Nobody knew where I was and I just kind of showed up here."
The surprise might be fading for Valley opponents, but the results are not.
Against the Vaqueros (12-11, 2-2 in the South Division), Brown keyed a 25-4 scoring run at the start of the second half that gave Valley a 59-37 lead with seven minutes to play and turned a close game into a near-rout.
"(Brown) has done it all year and that's what we expect from him," Valley Coach Jim Stephens said after his club improved to 14-11, 3-1 in division play. "He's such a key on offense and defense. But he wasn't the only one."
Brown was supported by center Art Kirksey (13 points, seven rebounds), guard David Tyner (eight points, nine rebounds) and reserve guard David Knight (eight points on four-of-four shooting).
The Monarchs, who joined the ranks of South Division favorites with a convincing victory over defending champion Canyons last week, broke this game open in the second half thanks in no small part to a serious shooting slump by the Vaqueros.
It began with the second half tip. Glendale missed its first eight shots and was two of its first 20 through the first 12 1/2 minutes. In that span, Valley outrebounded the Vaqueros, 19-4.
"Our shots just weren't going," said Vaquero guard Alfonso Pule, who led his team with 15 points. "But I'm not that mad that we lost. I know when we play Valley at Glendale it will be a different story."
In a first half characterized by aggressive defensive play, Valley managed to take a 34-33 lead at the break.
The Monarchs used a 14-2 scoring run to take a 25-15 lead with 7 minutes 47 seconds to play only to watch Glendale rally behind Pule and close the gap by halftime.
Glendale made just 11 of 30 shots in the first half (20 of 65 in the game), but Pule and Harry Marks combined for nine free throws without a miss to help compensate. Led by the inside play of Brown, Valley hit 15 of 28 shots from the field in the first half and 26 of 56 in the game.