Cortney Brunner graduated form Dolores High School on Saturday as one of the best athletes in Lady Bears history.
The basketball, volleyball, and track and field captain earned All-State honors in basketball and volleyball this year, as well as 2A San Juan Basin League All-Conference in both sports the past two years. She also was a member of the two-time defending Colorado 2A state champion Lady Bears 4 x 100-meter relay teams.
On Saturday, June 11, Brunner will take to the high school hardwood one last time in the 55th Colorado High School Coaches Association, All-State senior girls basketball gam at Plachy Hall on the campus of Adams State College in Alamosa. She will suit up for the Blue team, coached by Kelley Stewart of Pine Creek High School, and face the White team, coached by Elberts Rebecca Tomlin and Andy Schafer.
This is the second All-State basketball game Brunner has been selected to this year, as she was named to the Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports 2A Red team in March. The Red team was led by Brunners high school coach, John McHenry, but she did not play in the game because of personal obligations. Brunner did play in the 2010 CCGS All-State volleyball game, which is a main reason why she chose to play in the 55th CHSCA All-State basketball game over the CHSCA volleyball game, as she was selected for it, too.
I had to make a decision because I also made it in volleyball, Brunner said. I just decided since I already did (the CCGS) volleyball (game), that Ill do (the CHSCA) basketball (game) this time.
Brunner led the Lady Bears basketball team in scoring the last two years, averaging 13.1 points per game this season. She also led her team in assists and steals. Brunner recorded a career high of 32 points on Dec. 17, 2010, in a home win over 3A Bayfield, as the guard shot 8-of-16 from the field and hit 15 of her 16 free throws. The Lady Bears went on to win the 2A SJBL district tournament championship and advance to the Colorado 2A Region-3 tournament at Durango High School as the No. 1-seed. Brunner was named the 2A SJBL, Most Valuable Player for 2011.
Ive had Cortney since she was in peewee ball. Im thrilled that she gets to go, McHenry said about Brunner being selected to the CHSCA All-State game. This last year, she could recognize defenses, and knew when she could penetrate and knew when she couldnt. She really got to know the game of basketball, rather than just playing it. At times, we would get together on the side of the court . Id ask her what shes seeing, (and tell her) what Im seeing. We just had a chemistry together to where it was kind of like having another assistant coach with you.
Brunner embraced the role of floor general and team captain of the Lady Bears because she says her and her teammates were a strong cohesive unit.
Everyone kind of listens to what I have to say, so thats nice, she said. Weve all kind of built a bond. Our basketball team is pretty close, and we just work together.
The CHSCA All-State games feature high school seniors from all state classifications playing together and against each other. After four years of playing at the 2A ranks, Brunner is ready for the challenge of playing with and against 4A and 5A athletes.
Its kind of a little nerve-racking because I know that their teams have a lot better competition, Brunner said about the 4A and 5A schools. Im also excited because the level of competition will be higher than what were used to. It will be fun, and just seeing different classifications and everything will be cool, since theyre all intermixed.
Brunner said the most important things she learned while being an athlete at DHS are staying active, teamwork, being competitive and working with people.
Brunner will attend the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in the fall and is leaning toward studying health and nutrition, as well possibly trying out for the Mountain Lions womens basketball team.
Reach Bobby Abplanalp at firstname.lastname@example.org.