Dalonte Brown awoke from his dream in a haze.
Where was he? Heck if he knew.
A moment earlier last Thursday night, the Bowsher basketball star was celebrating with the home crowd after scoring his 1,000th career point and the Rebels were cruising toward their 10th straight win. A coach from Miami (Ohio) waited in the stands with a big surprise.
Then Brown took flight for a fast-break slam late in the second quarter and ... fade to black.
He was out cold, motionless on the floor.
“It was really scary,” Brown said. “I’ve never been knocked out before. I didn’t have any idea what was going on.”
A flagrant foul by Scott’s Anthony Morris had sent Brown crashing head-first into the padded wall just behind the basket. Players and fans — along with a dozen or so cops — spilled onto the court.
It was ugly. It was unfortunate. It was ...
“Crazy,” Brown said.
Yet if the game was over — called on account of chaos — this story is anything but.
Is Brown still fuming about last week? Please.
“We’re excited about what’s coming,” he said. “I think this will make us hungrier, starving.”
Brown, the sweet-shooting heart of a Bowsher team that is three wins away from running the table in the City League, returned to school this week with the same impossibly wide smile as always.
To use his word, life works in funny ways.
That night of joy and fear and uncertainty Thursday ultimately ended just as it began. With boundless hope. After Brown was briefly treated for a concussion at ProMedica Toledo Hospital, the 6-foot-7 forward fielded a call from the Miami assistant who was at the game. The coach shared by phone the news he had hoped to drop in person.
The RedHawks were offering him a scholarship. Brown committed Sunday night.
Miami is getting an impressive young man.
You want perspective and maturity? I asked Brown about the Scott player who leveled him.
“It was a good foul,” he said.
He has no time for grudges. No, Brown is just grateful he can carry on this season — he still must pass a series of tests but expects to be back for Friday’s regular-season finale against Woodward — and guide what had been a charmed winter for the Rebels (15-4, 9-0) through sudden headwinds.
As a result of the dust-up, 14 players — including six from Bowsher — were suspended two games for leaving their benches, meaning the Rebels will play Friday and next week’s City League semifinal game minus half of their varsity roster.
The silver lining is four starters remain eligible. A coveted perfect league season remains in reach.
If anything, Brown said the incident galvanized the team and, in its own way, the Bowsher community.
“Dalonte is so loved at Bowsher that when he went down, a couple fans told me it was like their son was on the floor,” Bowsher coach Joe Guerrero said. “You never condone what happened, and I don’t. But it was like their son was there injured and their emotions took over. We’ve got to do a better job. But it’s hard to be put in that position when you see your son down.”
Fortunately, Brown is back up.
And Bowsher is far from out.
Bowsher's Dalonte Brown celebrates a Feb. 3 win for his team over Rogers. THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT