Heidlebaughs Push Each Other to Excellence
Brad Heidlebaugh has become known for his achievements on the basketball court.
In the championship round of the State Class B Boys Basketball tournament in Bismarck, Heidlebaugh scored 23 points and got seven rebounds, which helped propel the Panthers to victory over the Four Winds-Minnewaukan Indians (54-40.)
He became the first Panther to bring home the title of “Mr. Basketball”, an annual award presented to top senior athletes by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. He was also named the Class B Senior Athlete of the Year, state tournament MVP (most valuable player) a member of the All-State first team, and a bronze member of the Academic All-State Team (an award presented by the North Dakota Association of Secondary School Principals).
At the Region 6 tournament in Minot he was named Co-Senior Athlete of the Year – along with Austin Lee of Berthold – and a member of the All-Region team. He was also named to the All-District team and senior athlete at the District 11 tournament in Rugby.
But over the years, he hasn’t done it alone.
“My parents have pushed me to become everything that I am in school and in athletics. They helped me through all the processes in my life I’ve been through,” Brad said.
One of those processes is type 1 diabetes, which Brad was diagnosed with at a young age.
“My parents put it into my mind that you can’t be lazy, you can’t expect things to come to you you gotta go out and work for it. When I was diagnosed with diabetes I read a bunch of bad stories about how you wouldn’t be able to do certain things in your life. I’m not going to let this disease beat me and I’m going to try as hard as I can in anything I do,” Brad said.
Brad recalls a defining moment when he was a fifth grader in which he was mad after the outcome of a basketball game and wanted to quit. He remembers his mother, DeAnna, saying, “You can do what you want, but just remember how fun it is when you do good.”
And from that point he excelled.
In terms of competition, he and his sister, Shea, pushed each other when they were younger, almost to the point of sibling rivalry.
“They’re not as competitive now as they were in fourth, fifth or sixth grade,” Mike, Brad’s father, said.
DeAnna said: “On the farm they only had each other, so they were going to go all out and see who’d win.”
Shea said: “A defining moment for me was sitting on the bench watching the boys play back in good ol’ fourth grade and realizing how bad I want to play that I wanted to get better.”
Both Brad and Shea in their junior years (Brad last year and Shea this year) surpassed their 1,000 point marks in regional tournaments one year and one day apart.
In the fall, Brad will play NCAA Division I football and attend college at the University of North Dakota. He plans to take up engineering.
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