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Heidlebaugh named First-Team All-State

By Staff | Mar 28, 2014

Brad Heidlebaugh tends to talk about the team in interviews, but he’s not afraid to acknowledge that certain personal accolades are among his goals.

Heidlebaugh, a 6-foot-5 forward, was one of three juniors named Class B all-state first-team, as selected by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

“It really makes me want to push myself more to get Senior Athlete of the Year or Mr. Basketball,” Heidlebaugh said. “They’ve been goals because I know that they help push me to get to the next step in my career.”

Heidlebaugh averaged 23.7 points and 11.7 rebounds to lead the Panthers to a runner-up finish at the state tournament. The Panthers (27-1) suffered their only loss to Oak Grove in the championship.

“He should be very proud of what he accomplished and I’m glad he’s only a junior and we can have him around another year,” RHS coach Mike Santjer said.

“I think it’s a great, great honor for a kid who worked as hard as he did and put as much effort into being the player he is. It didn’t just happen. Yeah, he’s physically gifted, but he put a tremendous amount of work into it.”

Heidlebaugh is the fourth Panther to earn an all-state selection, following Justin Keller (2005), Josh Anderson (2000) and Kevin Miller (1990).

Heidlebaugh is joined on the first team by Mr. Basketball winner Briton Bussman (Milnor), senior Tanner Holte (Des Lacs-Burlington), junior Trayvon McKay (Four Winds-Minnewaukan) and junior Brock Robbins (Cavalier). Heidlebaugh’s abilities on the wing and down low garnered the respect and admiration of coaches around the state.

“Brad is one of the toughest matchups I’ve seen in a long time because he can go inside and outside and plus he’s a great passer,” FW-M coach Rick Smith said, “so when you double-team him he’s always finding Tanner (Bernhardt) or (Zach) Miller and he’s always looking. That makes him such a tough basketball player when he can handle the ball.”

Bussman, a second-team selection in 2013, led all first-team selections with an average of 28.1 points. He shot 41 percent from 3-point range and pulled down 8.2 rebounds.

Holte, the Region 6 Senior Athlete of the Year, repeated as a first-team selection and was on the second team as a sophomore. The Lakers’ career-scoring leader finished his senior campaign averaging 22.2 points and 10 rebounds.

McKay averaged 22.8 points and 5.5 rebounds. Robbins posted 19.1 points and 9.6 rebounds.

“That’s a lot of really, really good players and it means a lot to be associated with that group,” Heidlebaugh said.

“You know that all your hard work paid off. Especially as a junior, I was hoping to get second team, so I’m pretty happy.”

Eight seniors and two juniors made the second team, including Westhope-Newburg senior Hunter Braaten and North Star juniors Alex Weston and Christian Kvilvang.

“Whether it’s first team or second team those are some pretty talented basketball players,” Santjer said, “and the fact that a lot of them are underclassmen shows there’s a lot of talented younger kids in North Dakota. Basketball is a really big thing in North Dakota and a lot of kids are excited about it, which is always good.”

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