Salmen’s Kalani Brown tall order in Class 4A finale _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Salmen's Kalani Brownscored 30 points and grabbed 23 rebounds against Warren Easton in the Class 4A final of the Girls Top 28 State Tournament on Saturday at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles. Brown was named the most outstanding player of the game, but her team lost 46-42.

LAKE CHARLES — In her final game in a Salmen Spartans uniform, Kalani Brown was named the Most Outstanding Player in the state championship game.

However, the Baylor signee would gladly give back the MVP honors for a third consecutive state championship trophy.

Brown almost single-handily led her team to a 3-peat in Class 4A, scoring 30 points, grabbing 23 rebounds and blocking two shots. However, it was not enough as her Spartans fell to Warren Easton 46-42 in the Class 4A title game Saturday night.

Dominating her team’s offensive output, Brown scored the Spartans’ first 15 points. Salmen’s first non-Brown points didn’t come until 41.1 seconds left in the first half on a bucket by Deja Starks.

“The game plan was not for me to score all of my team’s points,” Brown said. “Despite the way it almost happened early on. I just knew I had to do what I had to do to help my team win.

“Going inside and out has always been our game plan, and we worked it. I just had to work for the ball.”

Brown, the school’s all-time leading scorer, shared her feelings about the loss and her upcoming college career.

“I said after the semifinal win I wouldn’t know how I felt until after the championship game was over,” she said. “Now that it is over, and I know it is over, words can’t describe the sorrow I feel. Of course, I have a future ahead of me in the game of basketball, and I’m looking forward to what it has in store.”

Her coach for the past four seasons, the Spartans’ Kevin Anderson said Brown will go down as arguably the best girls basketball player in St. Tammany Parish and one of the best in the state.

“Her entire career has been outstanding,” Anderson said of his star player. “She still has a McDonald’s All-American game before she moves onto Baylor. Kalani has been outstanding since she arrived on campus as a freshman. Every year I have seen the offense get better and better. The defense was there early on, but now you can see how great she is on offense.

“An outstanding ballplayer was picked to be the Most Outstanding Player in her final game.”