Brunker, Roden named all-Big 8

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Middleton senior Brogan Brunker was named first-team all-Big Eight./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

They were Middleton’s dynamic duo this winter.

Both did a little bit of everything — and helped the Cardinals enjoy a solid season.

And senior forwards Brogan Brunker and Alan Roden were recently honored for their terrific years.

Brunker was named first-team all-Big Eight Conference, while Roden was named honorable-mention all-league.

“I'm happy for and proud of both of these young men,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said.

Brunker led the Cardinals in scoring at 18.1 points per game. He also scored in double figures in 20 of the 21 games he played.

Brunker was second on the team in rebounding (4.6), shot 55% from the field, 41% from three-point range, 74% from the free throw line and averaged 2.2 assists per game.

Brunker was joined on the first team by Sun Prairie’s Marlon Ruffin and Jalen Johnson, Madison East’s Keshawn Justice and Madison La Follette’s Donnell Gray.

Ruffin was named the league’s Player of the Year, Sun Prairie’s Jeff Boos was the Coach of the Year and Madison Memorial’s Elliot Grays was the Defensive Player of the Year.

“Brogan clearly earned a first-team selection,” Bavery said. “To be voted a top-five player in a 10-team league of this caliber is indeed a special honor.”

Brunker’s season was extremely rewarding considering the obstacles he’s overcome in recent seasons.

Brunker was struck with Lemierre's syndrome in the summer of 2016, a disease that affects just 1-in-1,000,000 people and has a mortality rate between 4 and 12%. Brunker survived a procedure in which his heart had to be re-started and doctor’s gave him a 25% chance to live.

The disease took away Brunker’s 2016 football season. And even though he returned for some of the basketball season last winter, he was still recovering and was never close to 100%.

Brunker was fully recovered for the start of football season last fall. But in a preseason scrimmage, Brunker broke several bones in his hand and missed almost all of the 2017 football season.

Brunker was healthy for this basketball season, though, and put together his most memorable athletic achievements at MHS.

“This was one of the best years of my life,” Brunker said. “I don't really have anything to say except it was so much fun.”

Bavery was glad to see Brunker exit on a high.

“Brogan will clearly be missed, but more so for his journey off the court and his leadership and attitude on the court than for his ability as a player,” Bavery said. “Don’t get me wrong, you can’t replace 18 points per game. But his genuine approach to hard work and intense effort along with a calming and accepting demeanor to his teammates was something special.”

The 6-foot Roden was the ultimate glue guy, a defensive stopper and someone who made all of his teammates better.

Roden finished with a team-leading 7.2 rebounds per game. He also finished second on the team in scoring (8.6).

“The way he plays the game often goes unnoticed,” Bavery said. “But the Big Eight coaches recognized his ability to rebound, defend and lead in awarding him an honorable mention all-conference.

“Alan was one of the surprise performers in the Big Eight this season. I’m always putting it in our underclassmen’s minds ‘Who is going to be next season’s Alan Roden?’ He was that special for us this year.”

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