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News arrow News arrow Sports arrow BEST OF THE BEST: PLAYER OF THE YEAR AND ALL-STATE HONORS FOR BRUINS BASKETBALL

BEST OF THE BEST: PLAYER OF THE YEAR AND ALL-STATE HONORS FOR BRUINS BASKETBALL Print E-mail
April 04, 2008 11:00 pm
Bansemer (#32) voted 4A Player of the Year, Corpening garners Second Team All-State honors (The Pilot/Jef Hatch).
Bansemer (#32) voted 4A Player of the Year, Corpening garners Second Team All-State honors (The Pilot/Jef Hatch).

By Josh Bronson

Pilot staff writer

With two minutes left to play in the state championship game against Marist, Coach Bryan Wood had a brief conversation with junior Chase Bansemer that flipped a switch.

"He told me it was my chance to take over this game," Bansemer said. "And it was then that I realized I had the ability to do it and he gave me the confidence I needed. You always know you have it in you, but sometimes it takes someone to tell you to bring that out."

After the brief pep talk, Bansemer went out and nailed two clutch 3-pointers to keep the Bruins within striking distance of the Spartans.

Although the Bruins fell just short of the state title that day, Bansemer solidified his spot as one of the best players in the state.

Earlier this week, that spot was confirmed by the rest of the state as Bansemer was named the 4A State Player of the Year by The Oregonian.

And the man who helped give Bansemer and the rest of the Bruins the confidence to play to the best of their abilities, Wood, was named the 4A State Coach of the Year.

Junior Fred Corpening was also recognized for his outstanding play throughout the year with a Second Team All-State selection.

Leading by example

Blink, and Bansemer will fly by you in a split second.

Telegraph your next move, and he'll pick your pocket so fast you won't even know what happened.

Bansemer, who was probably one of the most underrated players all year, finally got to showcase his talent on the big stage at the state tournament.

"It was good to finally get to play against top competition and see how we fared against adversity," Bansemer said.

Leading the way as the floor leader, Bansemer who took control of games when needed, but also did a great job getting the rest of the team involved.

"He's a stud," Corpening said of his teammate. "He makes everything on the floor happen."

Bansemer did much more than just score this year.

The Bruins had a number of players who could put points on the board – in fact, eight other players scored in double figures throughout the year.

"He's a tremendous leader and he always defended the opposing team's best player," Wood said. "He also handled the ball, initiated our offensive sets and transitions and, at the end of the game, we wanted the ball in his hands."

On the court, Bansemer let his actions speak louder than his words.

"That's just the way he plays," Wood said. "He doesn't talk about it, he just goes out and does it. And that's how he handles himself off the court as well."

Off the court, Bansemer and the rest of the Bruins are models for how student-athletes should handle themselves.

"The best thing about this is that Chase is just as good of a kid as he is a player," Wood said. "They're successful because of who they are as people and our program is glad to have them."

Don't forget that Bansemer, his twin brother Kenton and Corpening are all juniors and still have room for improvement.

"Chase still has a tremendous upswing," Wood said. "His skills will grow because of his desire."

The scary part?

Bansemer played the entire year with a stress fracture in his right tibia, so he was constantly playing through pain and was never at full strength.

Just imagine the force he'll be next year on two good wheels.

See Awards, Page 12A

Just believe

For Coach Wood, it's never been about himself.

It's about the team, the school and the community.

Just believe

For Coach Wood, it's never been about himself.

It's about the team, the school and the community.

"He has a genuine love for the kids and for the community," assistant coach Jon Young said. "And he cares about more than just wins and losses. He's a huge asset to this community."

Ask Coach Wood about the award and he'll probably tell you it was all because of the kids.

Ask the team how they feel about Coach Wood and they'll tell you they couldn't have done it without him.

"He doesn't like to take a lot of credit for it, but he's the one who built this team," Corpening said. "He changed a lot of people's minds about basketball in Brookings."

In just three years as head coach of the Bruins, Wood has taken his team to the state tournament twice and all the way to the championship game this year.

"The only thing I brought to these kids is the belief that this could happen in Brookings," Wood said. "From there, they simply believed it."

A big part of the success of the Bruins this year stemmed from the fact that the athletes listened to Wood and responded to his coaching philosophy.

"We bought in to what coach was saying from day one and look where it got us," Bansemer said.

Wood was aided throughout the year by Young and JV coach Jason Fulton.

"The whole coaching staff earned this award," Wood said. "It reflects all of us."

Contagious energy

Every team has one player who fuels the energy of his team.

Fred Corpening is that guy for the Bruins.

"Without a doubt, Fred is our vocal and emotional leader," Wood said.

"When we're all down, he brings us up," Bansemer added. "And when he hustles, he makes everyone want to hustle as well."

From the initial tip-off to the final whistle, Corpening is always going full bore.

If the team is looking slightly lackadaisical, a big blocked shot or a slam dunk followed by a primal yell will usually get his team going.

"I have to keep the intensity up," Corpening said. "I have to make sure everybody comes focused and ready to play."

Battling injuries all year – two ankle injuries and a sore back – Corpening was usually not at 100 percent on the court.

But you would never know that by the effort he put forth game in and game out.

At the state tournament, Corpening showed his versatility, averaging 12.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1 blocked shot in three games.

Corpening was also the only player on the All-Tournament First Team to be a unanimous decision – a player every coach at the tournament voted to be on the first team.

"Fred is an amazing athlete who will only continue to improve," Wood said. "His dedication is unbelievable and he has a lot of growth potential still in front of him."

Team first

This group of young men and their coaching staff epitomize the "team first" concept.

Nobody set goals at the beginning of the year to be the state player of the year.

The ultimate goal was the state championship.

"Our first goal was to win league, then state," Bansemer said. "For everyone, it's all about the team."

Everyone involved in the program is modest when it comes to talking about individual achievements.

"They're not consumed with themselves," Wood said of his players. "They appreciate the team and that's how they played – as a team."

The basketball team is more than just a team – they're a family.

During summer basketball, when they played 35 games in 17 days on the road, the team developed a sense of camaraderie at a level unseen by the players until then.

"This summer, we were really able to develop our basketball family," Wood said. "We became a family and that was probably the most important thing we accomplished."

The future

Next year, there is only one goal left for the Bruins to accomplish – win a state championship.

"None of us are satisfied with second place," Corpening said.

With Corpening and the Bansemer twins returning, along with the help from a number of younger players, the Bruins will be the team to beat next year.

"Everyone in the state will be gunning for us," Corpening said. "Personally, I like it that way. People will be bringing their ‘A' game every night. And you can't say you're the Real Deal unless you beat the best."

 

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