The first and only time Jarren McAllister and his older brother faced off in high school was about two years ago, when Jarren was a freshman at Heritage, and Jamel was a senior at Wake Forest.
Jarren, now a 6-3, 165-pound junior, still tells that story. It was a big moment for him.
“It was off a rebound,” he recalled Thursday. “It was like a fast break and it was just me and him. Being the little brother, I went head-to-head with him. I went up and got the And-1.”
Jamel remembers the story, too. But when he tells it, he doesn’t get as excited as his brother.
Jarren said his adrenaline was pumping after the layup, and he got in his older brother’s face and started talking junk, then Jamel started clapping.
Both were called for a technical. The referee didn’t know the two were brothers until after the game.
“That was one of the only times, as a coach that I let it fall by the wayside and didn’t take him out the game for the tech,” Heritage coach Tilden Brill said laughing.
Jarren’s competitiveness has served him and his Heritage teammates well during this week’s John Wall Invitational at Broughton. On Tuesday, he scored 18 points in Heritage’s 67-43 win over Millbrook, one of the tournament favorites.
Jarren said having an older brother who played basketball has helped him become the player he is today – even though their one-on-one games as kids always ended with the two fighting.
“It just helped me stay wanting more out of our games, and it just keeps me hungry and keeps my aggression up on the court,” he said.
Jarren averages 14 points per game for Heritage (10-0). Brill describes him as a relentless defensive player and a slasher on offense. He likes to get to the bucket.
Over the summer, Jarren committed to Virginia Tech.
Jamel, a 6-7 sophomore starter at Winston Salem-State, is proud of his brother.
It just helped me stay wanting more out of our games, and it just keeps me hungry and keeps my aggression up on the court.
“I thought it was good for him. But I still wanted him to stay competitive,” Jamel said. “Because I know it’s still early.”
Heritage will play Garner for the championship game in the John Wall Invitational Friday at 6:50 p.m. in the David West bracket at Broughton.
Garner is led by Alex Reed, a 6-4, 211-pound senior forward who is undecided but will visit Radford soon. He scored 22 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in the Trojans’ last win against Leesville Road.
Hertiage coach Brill and Garner coach Eddie Gray say the key to the game will be setting the tempo and playing at their speed. Garner plays an up-tempo style.
“They have two outstanding perimeter shooters and of course their big guy inside,” Gray said. “We have to play fast basketball.”
Heritage vs. Garner
John Wall Invitational
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Broughton High School