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Brown welcomes challenge of turning around Scots' girls basketball team

Rick Peterson, Top Sports News Writer


Robert Brown was perfectly happy serving as an assistant coach for Michael Williams with the Highland Park boys basketball program.

But when the opportunity came up early in October to take over as head coach for the Highland Park girls, it didn't take Brown long to decide that was where he needed to be.

"I kind of hesitated at first because I loved working with Coach Mike and helping the boys out, but in the end I jumped at this chance,'' Brown said.

FE m QHXsAYdE0BNew Highland Park girls basketball coach Robert Brown talks to his Scots at the start of Tuesday's practice. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

 Highland Park fought a severe numbers crunch over the past two seasons and is coming off a 2020-2021 season that saw the Scots go 0-16 while losing by an average of 37.3 points per game.

But none of those things deterred Brown, who is also the Scots' head baseball coach, from taking over the girls team.

"I want to try to help these girls be as good as possible and it's about the whole community,'' Brown said.

Highland Park barely had enough players to field a varsity team a year ago, but Brown expects the numbers situation to be much better this season.

"I went around the school and kind of said, 'Hey, come play basketball for me,' '' Brown said. "I got them on the track and saw they could do some running and just kept encouraging them and keeping them confident and they've been sticking around for the most part.

"We have about 25 locked in and we'll have three teams this year. We'll have a varsity, JV and a C team.''

Brown will build this year's team around senior Aisya Taylor, who averaged 13.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.9 steals while hitting 19 3-pointers last season.

FE lpLVWYAgNZF5Highland Park girls basketball coach Robert Brown and his Scots will be out to improve this season after a winless 2020-2021 campaign. Aisya Taylor (left) is the top returner for the Scots. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

Brown also has several newcomers, including multiple freshmen, who he expects to contribute immediately, and he said the key is to maintain a positive attitude.

"I always want to be positive and I always want to keep encouraging them,'' he said. "We have a pretty young group of girls and freshmen girls who have no clue what happened the last couple of years and that's kind of a good thing because we just want to try to build a winning attitude.

"At the end of the day I'm a competitor and I want them to compete and be able to win.''

Brown has been happy with the improvement he's seen from his Scots over the opening two weeks of practice.

"I keep telling them I feel like we're getting better every minute,'' Brown said. "I've got a lot of sponge-type girls that are learning and wanting to learn and are asking a lot of questions, and we're getting better every second, every minute.''