ESCANABA - Brett Branstrom's high school basketball career may have ended a couple weeks ago, but his outright dominance on the basketball court is something that will likely be celebrated and remembered for years to come.
Monday, Branstrom was selected to the Associated Press Class D All-State Team for the second consecutive year, a remarkable achievement for the top player in Mid Peninsula school history. Branstrom was also selected to The Detroit News Class D First Team.
"It's pretty cool. This year it was kind of expected because of last year. It's cool knowing I've accomplished it two years in a row," Branstrom said Tuesday from Florida.
This season, Branstrom put up what some have described as arcade-like numbers and it's not hard to see why. The 6-5 center averaged 25.2 points and 21.1 rebounds while putting together the eighth-highest single-season rebounding total in state history. For his career, Branstrom has scored 1,785 points, making him the area's top career boys scoring leader, eclipsing even Bark River-Harris standout Brock Bower.
He is currently being recruited by Division II Michigan Tech and Lake Superior State as well as Division III St. Norbert, but hasn't yet committed.
It wasn't easy for Branstrom to improve his game from the previous season with opponents homing in on him from the start of the season.
"My game improved in all different areas but things got a little more difficult this year," he said. "There was more pressure on me and the team expected more out me. North Central put double teams on me.
"I grew as a player by knowing what to expect of myself and doing it consistently every night."
After five years of coaching his son at the varsity level and a lifetime of watching him grow, Brett's continued accumulation of accolades no longer surprises Mark Branstrom.
"I'm very proud of Brett and the fact that that he was named All-State two years in a row doesn't surprise me," he said. "He has his goals set and he plays at a high level consistently. He impresses me all the time, ever since he was little, which wasn't for very long."
Joey Blauwkamp of Wyoming Tri-Unity Christian was named the Class D Player of the Year. The 6-foot senior guard averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and 3.5 steals for the Defenders, who are ranked No. 1 in the AP CLass D poll, this season. This is also Blauwkamp's second straight appearance on the All-State Team.
Also named to the Class D All-State Team was Ewen-Trout Creek's Dillon Gordon, a 5-10 senior. Gordon averaged 28.5 points with 3.6 assists for the Panthers this season. Gordon, the Iron Mountain Daily News reports, has made a verbal commitment to play at Michigan Tech in the fall.
Also making a repeat appearance on the team was Malachi Satterlee of Climax Scotts. Saterlee, a physically imposing 6-7 senior averaged 16.3 points and 7.6 rebounds.
Wade Schetter of Carney-Nadeau was an honorable mention for the second consecutive year. Cedarville's Josh Hester was also an honorable mention,
The Associated Press Class D boys basketball All-State team, as selected by a panel of 10 Michigan sportswriters:
Joey Blauwkamp, Wyoming Tri-unity Christian, 6-0, Sr., Player of the Year
Brett Branstrom, Rock Mid Peninsula, 6-5, Sr.
Matt Falls, Carsonville-Port Sanilac, 6-0, Sr.
Dillon Gordon, Ewen-Trout Creek, 5-10, Sr.
Mitch Myler, Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart, 6-0, Sr.
Skylar Ross, Lansing Christian, 6-2, Sr.
Malachi Satterlee, Climax-Scotts, 6-7, Sr.
Denny Hall, Bellaire, 6-3, Jr.
Evan Kraatz, Allen Park Inter-City Baptist, 6-0, Jr.
Bakari Evelyn, Southfield Christian, 6-1, So.
COACH OF THE YEAR:
Todd Walden, Middleton Fulton
SPECIAL MENTION (nominees receiving two or more votes from the 10-member panel):
Brett Stockton, Owendale-Gagetown; Aaron Cook, Climax-Scotts; Lindsey Hunter IV, Southfield Christian; Dalton Trefil, Middleton Fulton
Mark Kraatz, Allen Park Inter-City Baptist
HONORABLE MENTION (nominees receiving one or no votes from the 10-member panel):
David Loney, Frankfort; Jordan Terry, Lansing Christian; Collin Lay, Portland St. Patrick; Griffin Lewis, Morrice; Luke Wenger, Pinckney Livingston Christian; Josh Hester, Cedarville; Wade Schetter, Carney-Nadeau; Koji Vroom, Ann Arbor Rudolf Steiner; Zack Bialik, Manistee Catholic Central; Erik Wallstrom, Pentwater; Trevor Gernaat, McBain Northern Michigan Christian; Marcus Matelski, Boyne Falls; Nick Hincka, Posen; Daeshon Pride, Flint Madison Academy; Connor Amey, Carsonville-Port Sanilac; David Sharpe, Marine City Cardinal Mooney Catholic; Aaron Johnson, Holland Calvary; Cory Young, Eau Claire; Mike Warren, Fruitport Calvary Christian; Dan Cole, Wyoming Tri-unity Christian; Patrick Barnhart, Wyoming Potter's House Christian; Anthony Atlas, Kalamazoo Phoenix; Joe Gales, Mendon; Zach Webb, Bellevue; Micah Thomey, Mio; Austin Fader, Akron-Fairgrove