For four years at Ketchikan High School, John Brown dominated action under the basket with legendary skill and was widely recognized as the top basketball player in Alaska in the 1960’s. He led the Kings to four straight state championships (1965-68) and a four-year record of 110-14 and was a four-time state tournament MVP.
The 6-foot-2, 150-pounder averaged more than 19 points a game, with averages of 22.8 points and 13.4 rebounds his senior year and 22.5 points and 10.4 rebounds his junior year.
Former Juneau-Douglas High School basketball coach George Houston played for JDHS when Brown played for Ketchikan. In a game in Juneau during Brown’s senior year, the Crimson Bears led the Kings by seven points at halftime. Brown came out and scored the first basket of the second half, a left-handed hook shot from teh top of the free throw line.
“We were done,” Houston said. “He was so smooth.”
The Kings won by 14 points.
During Brown’s days, the state championship was a best-of-three series pitting the top Southeast team against the top team from up north. If a team won the first two games, the third was played for fun, experience and bragging rights.
As a freshman, Brown’s Kings beat East Anchorage in Anchorage in three games, winning the third game 58-53 in overtime. In his sophomore season they swept Fairbanks in Ketchikan and in his junior season they swept West Anchorage in Anchorage. In Brown’s senior season, the Kings beat West Anchorage in Ketchikan, winning the first two games for the title and losing the third in overtime.
Already a hoops hero in Ketchikan, Brown played one season at Seattle University, spent tow years in the military and returned to school at Northwestern College in Kirkland, Washington, where his two-ear scoring average of 20.5 is still a school record.
Brown finished a teaching degree at Seattle Pacific University and eventually returned to Ketchikan, where he has been a fixture, working with youth athletes either through positions with the Ketchikan School District, Ketchikan Indian Community, Ketchikan Gateway Borough or as a volunteer.
– Klas Stolpe