Brugman having breakout year, following in siblings' footsteps - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Sports

Brugman having breakout year, following in siblings' footsteps

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Posted: Monday, February 14, 2011 8:00 am | Updated: 3:34 pm, Thu Mar 31, 2011.

By the time most games are done Jaymee Brugman is spent.

The Desert Vista junior is one of those athletes with zero notion of what neutral is and her game in no shape or form resembles those NASCAR races when restrictor plates are used in the stock cars.

"She works so hard, never gives up on a play," Thunder coach Rachel Proudfoot said. "She is always going for the hustle plays or taking a charge. She does a lot of dirty work that takes a certain desire that not all players possess. She gets in there, tips a ball that ends up leading to an extra rebound while other players might be heading back up court.

"Jaymee plays through the ball and her mindset allows her to be as successful as she is."

It's a mindset that is all too familiar with Desert Vista followers as she is the youngest of five Brugmans to come through the school, dating back 13 years.

"I've always loved DV and wanted to play there," said Brugman, who was 3 years old when her oldest sister, Jayna, was a freshman for the Thunder, but mostly remembers going to her brothers' games. "I used to watch my brothers and sister play for the Thunder and I couldn't wait until I got my chance."

Brugman, 17, is making her own impression despite the impressive linage left by Jayna (2001 grad, basketball), Jayson Jr. (2004 grad, basketball, baseball), Jayden (2008 grad) and Jaycob (2010 grad, basketball, baseball).

The 6-foot-1 post averaged 16.3 points and 10.0 rebounds heading into Wednesday's game against Phoenix Xavier. She leads the Fiesta Region, one of the toughest in the state, in both categories and is taking aim at junior varsity coach Kalei Nance's record.

Check off one.

"I set personal goals along with team goals each year," said Brugman, who is also a starter with the Thunder volleyball program that made the semifinals in the fall. "At the beginning of the year, I wanted to beat (Nance) records (for double doubles), but those are just goals. I don't know how many rebounds I get or points I scored until my dad says ‘Do you realize you got 24 rebounds?'"

Yeah, 24 rebounds. A school record that surpassed the mark of 22 set in 2003 set by Nance against Dobson.

She did that against Warren (Calif.) in Phase II of the Nike Tournament of Champions along with 22 points on Dec. 29. She's had 10 double-doubles on the season while shooting 56 percent from the floor.

The other record held by Nance is total rebounds for the season at 340. That one is probably out of reach unless the Thunder make an extended playoff run.

But there is always next year when she will be even more physical and confident.

"I think playing against my brothers when they were so much bigger and stronger than me at the time, it helped me become aggressive and fight for the ball," said Brugman, who played in a boys recreation league at age 8 because there were no leagues for young girls. "I couldn't sit back or I'd never get the ball."

Proudfoot, whose team was 10-14 overall and 2-6 in the Fiesta heading into Wednesday's game, said that time with her brothers allowed her to develop a feel for the game.

"She was on varsity as a freshman because of her court awareness and knowledge of the game," Proudfoot said. "Skills-wise she might not have been ready, but we knew she would be in the right place and make good decisions."

Her skills are still developing as Proudfoot said she is more of a power forward than a center at the college level.

"She is out of position most games, giving up some size, and she is starting to hit some 3-pointers at the end of the season here," Proudfoot said. "We all told her to go ahead and take that shot and now that they are starting to go in she is getting the confidence."

Brugman believes she is a college-level player with hopes of playing at Brigham Young University, but at the same time knows there is a lot of work to be done before it comes to fruition.

"Coach has helped me with everything from positioning to attitude," Brugman said. "I see myself getting better every day, but there is a long time between now and then and I want to make sure we are getting better as a team, too. We aren't having the season we wanted, but we are young.

"By this time next year we are going to be really good and that's only going to make me better."

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Jason P. Skoda
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