By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
A year ago, Stillwater High School’s Brett Budke watched helplessly as the Pioneers fell to Bixby in the Area tournament.
Now the junior may be a big reason why the Pioneers are still fighting for their playoff lives as the calendar turns to March.
“All year, Brett has done whatever we needed him to do,” Stillwater coach Michael Davis said. “People underestimate him because when you look at Brett, Brett doesn’t look your typical post player. But looks can be deceiving when it comes to Brett Budke. Make no mistake about it, he’s a basketball player.”
He may not always look the part but Budke certainly acted the part, tallying a team-high 19 points in the 78-59 win over Tulsa Hale Friday. Included in those 19 points, were two huge 3-pointers in the third quarter turning what was an eight-point lead into a double-digit lead the Pioneers never relinquished.
“I see it every day in practice,” Davis said. “My deal is I don’t want him to stop shooting them because he’s not making them like he was at the beginning of the year. I want him to keep shooting them. I don’t want him to give up when he misses one or two.”
Budke’s 3-pointers may have propelled the Pioneers past Hale, but it’s his post play that Budke seems most proud of.
“I’m more proud of the rebounds because my team can score,” Budke said. “They don’t particularly need me to score, but I have to get rebounds for us to win.”
Playing the post can take a toll on the body — especially if you’re a bit undersized like Budke. But after sitting out most of last year with a knee injury, going from a guard to the post seems easy.
“I’ve got used to it,” Budke said. “I’ve never really had to do it before because I’ve always been a guard, but I had to step up and be a post this year because I was the tallest. I like the competitive side of it because it’s a challenge. I’ve got stronger from it and developed my game.”
“He does a lot of stuff for us,” Davis said. “Most of the time he’s on the court Brett has to guard somebody bigger than him and he gets in there and battles to the best of his ability. ... I’ll tell you right now, we wouldn’t have been the team we are this year without him.”
The knee still aches from time to time, but Budke knows that time on the bench made him a better player.
“It was tough because I love the game and I want to be on the court,” Budke said. “I think it benefited me because every day I watched film. I put together the scouting report for the next team we played, so I saw the game from a different angle.”
Growing up as a coach’s kid, Budke has seen the game from a lot of angles. But one angle he’s not looking forward to? Viewing the game from the stands.
“We got to put it all out on the court if we’re going to win,” Budke said. “Bixby is a good team. We beat them once already, but that doesn’t mean anything. We have to come out and give it our all or we’re going to get sent home.”
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