Full-Court Press: ‘A complete player,’ Bruns averaging 32 points, 14 rebounds per game — His coach says he’s going to keep getting better
Paul Bruns posts monster numbers, but you wouldn’t know it by watching him play.
The Dakota Valley junior averages a whopping 32 points and 14 rebounds per game, and just as impressive is how effortless he makes it look. Bruns has a smooth jumper, produces in the paint and attacks in transition to get his points.
And does it while not being flashy or boastful.
“It’s not like he’s just out there casting a bunch of shots and getting noticed all the time,” Dakota Valley coach Jason Kleis said. “He goes about his business and is a very efficient player.”
In addition to his points and rebounds, Bruns also defends and dishes assists. He averages 3.8 assists and two steals per game for the Panthers (5-0).
“He’s always been just really smooth,” Kleis added. “... He’s good at everything. He’s a good shooter. He’s got high IQ out there. He rebounds really well. He pushes the ball. He passes the ball well. He’s just kind of a complete player and has good size for a guard.”
A 6-foot-4 guard, Bruns was a first-team all-stater last season after averaging 25 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. He’s cranked it up a notch his junior season and has recorded a double-double in each game:
26 points, 14 rebounds vs. Tea Area.
30 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals vs. Beresford.
44 points (school record), 18 rebounds vs. Canton.
27 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists vs. Woodbury Central (Iowa).
32 points, 10 rebounds vs. Mount Vernon/Plankinton.
The left-hander is shooting 52 percent from the field, 48 percent from the 3-point line and 76 percent at the foul line. The high-scoring guard is also closing in on 1,000 career points.
“I would say my offensive game for sure and shooting,” Bruns said. “I really have a complete offensive game. I am still working on little things, but I am getting there.”
He’s also expanding his full offensive arsenal on the hardwood. He faces defenses designed to key on him, but that’s meant more assists and opportunities for teammates.
“I love passing to my teammates and getting them involved,” Bruns said. “It’s fun when everybody scores. It makes it a lot easier when everybody is involved in scoring.”
Bruns’ younger brother, Isaac, is a freshman guard averaging 13 points a game. Junior Chayce Montagne (11.3 ppg), junior Alex Zephier (9 ppg) and senior Drew Addison (7 ppg) also add scoring punch to the Panther lineup.
The Panthers went 15-7 last season and fell to Lennox in the second round of the region tournament. The loss was extra motivation leading into this season.
“This summer we all worked really hard in the weight room and the gym,” Bruns said. “We just didn't want to have the same thing happen last year, happen this year.”
Bruns is drawing interest from Summit League schools, other mid-to-low Division I schools and Division II schools. Augustana University is currently his lone scholarship offer, but Kleis expects his recruitment to heat up soon.
“He’s just going to keep getting better and better,” Kleis said. “I would expect to see him at a higher level than most people think.”
Sacred Hoops Classic debuts at Corn Palace
East meets West today in Mitchell.
The inaugural Sacred Hoops Classic is today at the Corn Palace, and with it comes a full day of basketball and more.
The classic not only features East River vs. West River matchups, but also Native American vs. non-Native American teams that normally wouldn’t play each other during the regular season.
Sacred Hoops Co-Director Allan Bertram envisions the classic bridging the gap between schools from different cultural backgrounds, while also assisting with scheduling.
“It will be really neat and it will help teach a little bit about the culture and the importance behind it, as well,” Bertram said. “It’s just going to be a great learning moment and all centered around the game of basketball.”
The action starts at 9 a.m. Saturday with St. Francis playing Kimball/White Lake in a girls game and concludes at 9 p.m. with the Crow Creek boys facing West Central. It will feature 18 high school boys and girls teams playing nine games throughout the day.
Bertram said the games will serve as a measuring stick on the court, while also learning about different cultures off it. The Lakota Flag Song will be performed throughout the day and Native American student-athletes will also sing before their respective games.
“When the games get done they are going to get the teams together at center court and they are actually going to sing a Thanksgiving song, which is just a song about thanking the opponent of going through competition,” Bertram said. “Where it’s more of an honoring being able to compete against each other and the non-Native athletes will be able to be a part of that.”
On the court, it will give Native American athletes a different platform to showcase their basketball skills. Bertram singled out Kaylee Wells (Crow Creek), Stevi Fallis (Red Cloud), Charles Schrader (Pine Ridge) and Riyen Carlow (Red Cloud) as dynamic players in the event.
“There’s just some really nice players that a lot of people maybe over East have never seen play that are going to be able to be showcased,” Bertram said. “It’s pretty exciting for those young people.”
The anticipation is boiling over for the first event and next year’s classic is already gaining traction. Bertram said a number of teams -- Native American and non-Native American teams -- have expressed interest in playing in it. Bertram isn’t sure if it will stay a one-day event or expand to two days, but anticipates it to evolve next year.
“I think the potential of this thing to continue to blossom is most definitely there,” Bertram said. “I think people are going to be up for a special treat.”
And Bertram said there’s no better place for the event than the Corn Palace.
“What we are trying to do is give kids the ultimate experience possible and when I grew up in Colome, South Dakota, there was no greater place back then to go play a game than in the Mitchell Corn Palace,” Bertram said. “I just think to be able to add to the experience, you will have it in Mitchell where is basketball is just beloved and to allow the kids to be able to play on the Corn Palace floor.”
9:00 a.m. – St. Francis vs. Kimball-White Lake - Girls
10:30 a.m. - Lower Brule vs. Kimball-White Lake – Boys
Noon - Pine Ridge vs. Madison - Girls
1:30 p.m. - Pine Ridge vs. Parkston - Boys
3:00 p.m. - Red Cloud vs. Madison - Boys
4:30 p.m. - Red Cloud vs. Vermillion - Girls
6:00 p.m. - Winner vs. St. Mary - Boys
7:30 p.m. - Crow Creek vs. West Central - Girls
9:00 p.m. - Crow Creek vs. West Central – Boys
Dickson records 1,000th career point
Noah Dickson cracked the 1,000-career point mark on Friday.
The Sanborn Central/Woonsocket senior posted 20 points and hit the milestone during a 58-34 win over Miller at the Huron Classic. He also collected 15 rebounds.
The 6-foot-4 senior also tossed in 27 points in SCW’s 69-43 victory over Mount Vernon/Plankinton on Thursday.
The Blackhawks (4-1) play Bridgewater-Emery on Jan. 7 in Emery.
Hanson’s Reggie Slaba continues to throw down the slam dunks.
The 6-foot guard threw down a dunk against Kimball/White Lake on Tuesday at the Corn Palace, while also jamming another one against Irene-Wakonda on Friday in Alexandria.
Hanson coach Josh Oltmanns said Slaba now has five dunks in four games this season.
Slaba finished with 18 points and five steals in a 63-23 win over Kimball/White Lake. He added 16 points and six rebounds in a 75-33 victory over Irene-Wakonda.
Weekly honor roll
The outstanding performances continued to roll in as the calendar flipped to 2020. Here’s a look back at some top performers from this past week:
Boys top performers
Chase Arend paced Bridgewater-Emery with 30 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and five steals in an 85-57 defeat against Sioux Valley on Thursday.
Max McCulloch put in 29 points and 12 rebounds in Milbank’s 56-54 win over Webster Area on Thursday.
Connor Libis continued to pour in the points, finishing with 35 in Dell Rapids St. Mary’s 67-64 loss against Dell Rapids on Tuesday at the Entringer Classic. He finished 14 of 16 at the foul line and nailed five 3-pointers. He also netted 24 points for the Cardinals in a 60-30 win over Chester Area on Monday.
Adam Grashoff posted a monster double-double with 21 points and 18 rebounds in Elk Point-Jefferson’s 75-57 win over Irene-Wakonda on Monday. Jacob Jensen finished with 19 points and 11 boards for the Eagles.
Tyler Feldkamp (25 points/5 3-pointers) paced Sioux Falls Roosevelt to a 56-48 win over Sioux Falls Lincoln on Friday.
Brady Hawkins poured in 29 points and collected 14 rebounds as Ethan fell to Ipswich 61-51 on Friday at the Huron Classic.
Josh Arlt and Cayden Verley both put in 29 points in boys basketball action on Friday. Arlt added four 3-pointers and five rebounds as Lennox topped Canton, 80-70. Verley added five 3-pointers and five rebounds for Canton.
Girls top performers
Avery Broughton stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, 13 rebounds and 6 blocked shots as Corsica-Stickney edged Mount Vernon/Plankinton 54-51 on Tuesday at the Parkston Classic.
Nora O’Malley led Irene-Wakonda with 24 points and nine rebounds in a 52-44 win over Elk Point-Jefferson on Tuesday. Sister Malloy O’Malley finished with 21 points, eight rebounds, four steals and three assists in a 51-42 win over Hanson on Friday.
Vermillion’s Lexi Plitzuweit pumped in 38 points in a losing effort as the Tanagers lost to Tea Area, 57-52.
Ipswich’s Halle Heinz tossed in 27 points and four 3-pointers in a 45-33 victory over Sanborn Central/Woonsocket on Friday.
Katlyn Briggs recorded a team-high 21 points in Mount Vernon/Plankinton’s 54-35 win over Sanborn Central/Woonsocket on Thursday.
Rianna Fillipi led Lennox with 24 points in a 73-31 win over Canton on Friday.
Sioux Falls O'Gorman's Emma Ronsiek recorded 29 points in a 77-44 win over Benilde-St. Margaret's (Minn.) on Monday.
Here are a few items to keep an eye for the upcoming week:
A top-five Class B boys basketball contest looms on Jan. 10 in Dell Rapids. No. 1 De Smet will play at No. 4 Dell Rapids St. Mary in an early-season Class B showdown. De Smet is 4-1 and its only loss came against Class A power Sioux Valley. The Bulldogs are led by sophomores Kalen Garry and Rett Osthus. The Cardinals are 4-1 entering Saturday’s Sacred Hoops Classic game against Class A Winner. DRSM is paced by high-scoring junior Connor Libis.
Don’t look now but the Sioux Falls O’Gorman boys are starting to come around. The Knights are fresh off an upset win over No. 1 Yankton and will face Sioux Falls Roosevelt on Jan. 9 at the Sanford Pentagon. Roosevelt was No. 2 in the latest poll and O’Gorman will likely jump back into the top five to add some pop to this matchup.
Pine Ridge vs. Red Cloud doubleheader on Jan. 7. The two Pine Ridge Indian Reservation schools will square off at Red Cloud in the lone regular-season meetings between the teams. Expect an electric atmosphere between the Crusaders and Thorpes.