The number 5 is a pretty big deal in Rock Island.|
A few years ago, Chasson Randle delivered Rocktown a basketball state championship donning the red and gold "5," and now Shavonne Brewer is trying to bring that same mystique and success to the girls' program.
Brewer has her Rocks off to a 4-0 start and led Rocky to the IMSA Tournament Championship this past weekend. She is averaging 14.3 points per game, which earned her this week's Pacesetter honor for The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus.
The similarities between Randle and Brewer don't end with their jersey number and position. No, the guards are actually cousins, and, like Randle, Brewer has big plans for this year's Rocks.
"Our goals are to win conference and make it past regionals," Brewer said. "I want this to be the winningest team in Rock Island girls basketball history."
A lofty aspiration for a team that hasn't won a sectional title in more than 20 years. Last season, Rocky was ranked in the state nearly the entire season, getting as high as No. 6 in 3A. Brewer knows a brunt of the team's fortunes will fall on her shoulders.
"Coming into this year, I knew I had to step up and be a role model," Brewer said. "I had to show the younger kids how to play hard, never let up and always hustle."
The Rocks are learning from Brewer, who was the team's top scorer last year and is one of the top returning players in the Western Big 6 Conference.
Rocky is flush with juniors who excelled at the lower levels, but are transitioning into varsity play, with Brewer leading the way.
"They're learning a lot," said Brewer. "In the summer I didn't know if they'd be ready, but they have worked really hard, and we're coming together."
With a new team came a new style. Rock Island is subbing in girls line-change style, pressuring the ball up the court and trying to get the offense into transition as fast as possible.
That style plays right into Brewer's strength. The slashing, cutting driver has always been explosive to the rim and was excited to implement the new system.
The Rocks have averaged more than 70 points per game in their first four games, after averaging just 47 points per contest last year.
"People call me "the animal" because I like running and jumping and I'm just always moving," Brewer said. "I love it. I can just go. We're not walking the ball up the court anymore, we're sprinting, and whether I'm going to the basket or passing it off or whatever, I'm constantly moving."
"The Animal" hopes that when this season comes to an end, there will be two No. 5s who cement Rock Island as one of the great basketball cities in Illinois.
Meet Shavonne Brewer
Favorite pregame song: "Hold me back," Rick Ross
Favorite class: College English, Ms. Hayek
Favorite Thanksgiving foods: My mom's ham and Mr. Anderson's greens.
Favorite sport besides basketball: Softball
GPA: 3.60 (on 4.0 scale)
Intended college major: Physical Therapy
Parents: Angela Brewer, Rock Island, and James Brewer Sr., California
In the running...
— Sean Wetherell, Alleman football: Scored two TDs, including the game-winning run, as the Pioneers beat Evergreen Park 23-7 to advance to the Class 4A state championship game.
— Anne Bohnert, Alleman basketball: The senior guard helped Alleman to a 3-1 start to the season and averaged 14.0 ppg. during the week.
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