Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

By Cynthia Shroyer
Pine Bluffs Post staff 

Pawnee Coyotes season ends at regionals


At the end of the first day of regional basketball action in Sterling, Colo., the weekend looked promising for the Pawnee Coyote boys team. An opening day 50-44 win over Denver Jewish Day sent the Coyotes to Saturday’s round two.

“We were excited to get this win.  Denver Jewish Day is the only team that has beaten Shining Mountain this season, and after playing them, I can see why,” said Pawnee head coach Tim Brunelle. “Their defense is very solid as a team, and it is hard to get good shots. It is hard to pressure them because of their quickness and ball handling. They shoot the ball very well. They have a good post player who is quick and agile. We stayed patient in our offense and got good shots. We didn’t shoot a lot of shots in the game, but did shoot a high percentage because of our patience. After their big guy scored their first six points, we locked down on him and he scored only two the rest of the game. That was key.”

In the fourth quarter Pawnee was down by five, but held DJD to six for the quarter. Pawnee scored 17 points, 11 of them from the foul line.

“We played very well as a team, did what had to be done and advanced to the next round,” said Coach Brunelle.

Brye Brunelle connected for 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the game. Zeb Durst hit for 12 and took away five boards. Kelby Hahn grabbed four rebounds and tacked on 11 points.

Friday dawned and storm warnings sent the team east early to get ahead of the projected blizzard to make sure they could play Saturday. They beat the battle with the weather, but not with Caliche, ending their hopes of going to the state tourney. Caliche won that game 57-43.

“This was another great game against a great team,” the coach said. “We battled, we hung in, we would get behind eight or nine points, then fight back into it on several occasions. we never quit.”

“ We were only down one or two with about 6 minutes left in the game when they made their run on us,” he continued. “We had a couple of turnovers that they converted, and we had trouble scoring down the stretch. We weren’t as patient about waiting for good shots tonight as we needed to be at times, but when they pressure you so hard, easy shots are not there much.”

Brye had 11 points and eight boards in the game and Durst put up 10 points.

“It was really quite a season for us. We finished at 13-10, and one win away from the state tournament,” said Coach Brunelle. “When I look at how we played at the beginning of the season to the end, I thought we showed great improvement, which is a testimony to the hard work the boys put into this season. We had many close games, and won games where we had to come from behind several times against good teams. We were right there with the top 16 teams in the state. I couldn’t be happier with the effort this year.”

The coach noted the team graduates five seniors and they will be missed.

“I have coached several of them since they were in third grade in the rec leagues, so when I think back to all of the miles we drove, tournaments, games, practices ...we spent a bunch of time together, and I couldn’t have asked for a harder working bunch. I look forward to following their accomplishments in life,” he said.

Coach Brunelle is excited about the 2013/14 team as their underclassmen “grew a ton this season as well.”

“We will have a nice mixture of boys from each class,” he said. “They all have great attitudes, are great students, and I know they will commit to getting better through the off season, so that we can be highly competitive again next year.”

“I want to thank all of our fans for their support also,” the coach added. “We all get frustrated when we do not come out on top every game like we want to, but it is a hard game, and there are a lot of good teams out there. As long as we play hard and have the right attitudes, we can’t ask for more than that, and this team did that successfully this season. I am proud of them.”


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