Driveway court helped shape Brown sisters’ games

Even when Darcy and Jeff Brown were expecting their fifth child, basketball was on Dad’s mind.

“When our fifth child was coming, we thought it would be another girl, and my husband said, ‘Well, we’ll have a whole girls basketball team,’ ” Darcy recalled.

Jeff throws his head back and bellows out a big laugh when reminded of the story, which took a different turn.

“Yeah, it kind of messed things up,” he said.

They still have a team of Browns, there’s just 12-year-old Jarett joining it instead of an all-girls team.

The subject of basketball bounces around the Brown household for close to 365 days a year.

Darcy gives a little sigh when asked if family time means basketball talk.

“Yes, a lot,” she said, allowing her grin to morph into a smile.

Before Jenna, Casey, Ashlyn and Christa were all playing for the Bulldogs, Darcy said she and Jeff often had to split time with one parent at the middle school game and the other parent at the high school game.

“Somebody was watching someone all the time,” she said.

As a former high school basketball star at Paonia, Jeff’s love of the game influenced his daughters to follow in his footsteps.

But Jeff isn’t just a former player, coach and parental motivator, he puts his money where his basketball passion resides.

Like any basketball fan, Jeff put a hoop above the garage. But there was something missing.

“Oh no, that wasn’t enough, this just won’t do,” Darcy said of Jeff’s feelings about the hoop.

So, Jeff opened his wallet and had a large concrete pad poured. But that still wasn’t quite enough, so he measured the 3-point line and put official striping on the court.

The Browns’ driveway is now one of the finest neighborhood basketball courts imaginable.

“I had to pay some decent money for that concrete, but it’s worked out for the girls,” Jeff said of the court that was built three years ago.

Jeff knows the game and coached his daughters when they were younger and currently coaches Jarett. But he leaves the high school coaching to the coaches.

“They do a good job,” he said.

But once in a while, Dad has to gather the girls and have a debriefing session after a game. One example was a 46-43 loss to Grand Junction this past week.

“I don’t do that very often, but they really had an opportunity in that game and made some mistakes in the heat of the game,” he said. “There was some bad decision making, so I had to have that conversation with them about that.”

He gives credit to the coaching staff for talking to the players after games, so the kids don’t bring the game home with them.

“And a lot of times, I think the four of them talk it out before they get home to Dad,” he said with a laugh.

The Browns’ driveway court has helped shape the talents of the four sisters. But that court also draws players from all over town.

“It gets used a lot,” Darcy said. “They practice and play a lot, and sometimes the (Palisade) boys will come over and play.”

There’s no reason to bring a ball, either. Jeff estimates they have at least 30 basketballs at their home.

There’s no doubt the competition on that driveway court has prepared the Brown sisters for high school. Sometimes the competition gets heated.

“Sometimes it gets really competitive and we have to go take a walk,” Jenna said with a smile.


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