HERSHEY - Earlier this week, York Country Day head coach Corey Stiles challenged junior guard DeAireus Brown to a quick game of one-on-one. Stiles was a solid guard at York Catholic not so long ago, and he thought he'd be able to hold his own.
He was wrong.
"I can still play defense, but I didn't have a chance," Stiles said with a laugh.
Brown, who transferred from Northeastern before the start of the season, has been a nightmare for opponents and a blessing for Stiles and the Greyhounds. Without him, it's safe to say the Greyhounds probably wouldn't be 22-0, and it would have been a much tougher challenge to win the District 3 Class A gold medal, which the Greyhounds managed to do Friday with a 56-44 win over Greenwood at Giant Center in Hershey.
"What he brought to our program is invaluable," Stiles said of Brown. "Not only on the court but off the court. He's a leader, and the guys feed off that. He's one of the most respected kids in the school just because of the way he handles himself on and off the court. ... He's an incredible kid. I'm very lucky and blessed to have him on my team."
Along with Stiles, fellow transfer D.J. Hamilton and mainstay Jordan Ray, Brown has played a big part in turning around the program. Before this year, the Greyhounds had won 25 games in the last eight seasons combined.
"I honestly didn't know what was going to happen," Brown said of his arrival at York Country Day. "I came here just thinking about academics and my own future. With basketball, I knew that wherever I go, success will follow. That's one of the gifts God gave me. My mom said she wished that for me when I was in the womb. So just to know that I helped so much when I came over, it means a lot to me, and I know my coaches are proud of me and my teammates are, too. That's all that matters."
Brown is already one of the most respected people around York Country Day, Stiles said. That's evidenced by the giant grin his teammate Ray had on his face when asked about the addition of Brown.
"Let me tell you about DeAireus Brown ..." Ray started.
"He outworks me every practice," Ray said. "In my opinion, he's probably the best player in York County and top 10 in the state. That kid is amazing. He works my butt off every day. I appreciate him for coming."
Ray couldn't help but admire the effort Brown put in the third quarter when the Greyhounds trailed by seven.
"He went on a run and had like seven or eight points straight," Ray said of Brown's third quarter. "He got us back. He got us back in our groove, he got the fans into it and he got all of us into it. ... My freshman year, I never thought we'd be here. I never though we'd win a district championship."
Brown scored 15 in the third to lead Country Day on a 16-0 run that turned the game around. The junior finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and four steals.
"I can't explain it," Brown said of his third quarter. "It has just become instinctive for me. I'm just doing what I've been doing since I was 3 and doing basketball and loving what I do."
The Greyhounds aren't done quite yet. Their goal remains to bring home a second gold medal this season: A state championship.
"Our goal is to win states this year," Ray said. "We got districts out of the way and we're trying to win states. If we don't, we'll come back even stronger next year and we'll definitely get it next year."