The legend of Brian Houle at Hillsdale High School began when he was a freshman.
And it revolves around the number 50 — as in, points.
It’s been four years since Houle went off during a frosh/soph basketball game but the now forward’s scoring output that one afternoon in 2010 is still a topic of conversation — because it was then that Houle showed the Hillsdale basketball world that he and twine have a special kind of relationship.
It’s for that reason that no one is surprised Houle is in the middle of one of the best scoring seasons, not just in the Peninsula Athletic League, but the entire Central Coast Section — there aren’t too many players out there who can say they’re scoring an average of 23 points every time they step onto the basketball court.
“Junior year, I think he was kind of trying to find his way,” said head coach Brett Stevenson. “But man, his senior year, he’s the complete package. He can shoot from 3, he puts the ball on the floor and finishes at the rim, he’s getting to the free throw line and shooting a lot of free throws — which is a sign of his toughness. He finishes games in the fourth quarter. He’s the whole package right now.”
The argument can be made that, right now, Houle is having a Player of the Year kind of season for the Knights in a division full of Player of the Year kind of players. Not only is he doing it all for Hillsdale but, most importantly, he’s carried the Knights to a 5-1 mark in the South Division — only one game behind Burlingame with a gigantic matchup between the two teams looming on the calendar.
In three games last week, Houle averaged those 23 per and led the Knights to a 3-0 mark.
For his efforts, Houle is the Daily Journal Athlete of the Week.
“He’s driving the train,” Stevenson said. “And the nice thing is, when he is having a bit of an off night — and he hasn’t had many — he certainly has the aspect in his game where he can find teammates. He can draw that defensive attention, hit that open guy and if the shot is not falling he’s committed to getting to the free throw line and getting those easy ones. So, we’re counting on him. He’s our guy.”
And without a doubt the Knights are lucky to have him. On Monday of last week, he poured in 26 points against St. Elizabeth High School. He then followed that up with 24 points in a win over Carlmont.
But, while he “only” scored 19 against Aragon last Friday, that win against the Dons was probably his most complete effort of the week. Although he scored fewer points, his defensive efforts in that win helped shut down a usually potent Dons offense.
“He definitely anchors our front court,” Stevenson said. “We’re primarily a zone team but we’re pretty active in our zone. He really has the ability to kind of shut down the side, he knows how to close out and contest pretty well. What’s most impressive is he really rebounds the position. We don’t have to outlet with him on the rebounds. He just goes. He’s just as tough defensively which is why I think he’s an interesting prospect for teams at the next level. He can do it on both sides of the floor.”
And Stevenson expects Houle’s work ethic and drive will carry the Knights for the rest of the season.
“He’s a gym rat. He’s a smart kid. He’s a 3.5 GPA student and that translates to the basketball IQ side of things,” he said. “He really worked hard in the off season to elevate his game. He added the ability to put the ball on the floor and finish and, once he did that, he’s a hard guard.”