Aggressive attitude allows sophomore to log big-time minutes
Bren Koontz plays with a mean streak. A combo guard/forward, the sophomore is known for her attacking style and on-court intensity.
"I am aggressive," Koontz said. "I like to take the ball to the hoop. I try to chase rebounds down. I bring intensity."
Koontz often finds herself in a precarious situation: balancing the trait that makes her one of Basehor-Linwood's leading scorers and toughest defenders -- her intensity -- with the trait that can get her into foul trouble and a seat on the bench -- her intensity.
Koontz has taken to analyzing the generosity of referees as soon as she steps on the court.
"In the beginning of games, I try to play really aggressive and figure out what the officials are calling; if they are letting a lot of things go, or calling a lot of fouls," Koontz said. "If they are calling fouls, you have to slow down and back off. If they are letting stuff go, you can really be aggressive. You have to figure out what they are calling."
A recent tilt with Mill Valley, for example, called for a cautious Koontz.
"There was one foul when I was guarding the girl and she turned around and set the ball in my lap, and they called a foul on me," said Koontz, still in shock.
Koontz's versatility has helped a Bobcats squad that earlier in the season suffered an injury to Michelle Chrisman. Koontz can play the wing or just as easily slide into the post.
"I have different roles," Koontz said. "In the post, I get rebounds and post up. I try to go up strong and finish strong. When I am a guard, it is more looking down low and making a pass; just trying to create something."
Koontz spent her freshman year shuttling between the freshman team and varsity. On many nights, she played in games for both teams. By the end of the season, she was playing solely on the varsity, starting three games. She has been in the starting lineup since.
Koontz calls her brother, Eric, her role model. An avid dirt biker, Eric has battled injuries and suffered a near-death experience.
"He used to play (basketball); I play like him. He was really aggressive," Koontz said.
Koontz believes a tight-knit team is the reason that the Lady Bobcats have enjoyed success this year.
"The team is really close," Koontz said. "Everybody feels really close. Everyone is more unified. There is a lot more trust on the team; coach (Tami Holthus) has gotten us unified.
"We didn't lose anybody last year; two years in a row all being together, that is a lot of it. Coach really encourages us being there for each other."
The chemistry has helped the team weather several down-to-the-wire, heartbreaking defeats.
"It's hard because you get that close to winning and then you lose by a couple points," Koontz said. "If it is a game that you are going to lose, and you get that close, it just shows that you can run with that team and that you can get them next time."
Specifically Koontz was referring to Tonganoxie, the No. 1 4A girls team in the state. The Lady Bobcats twice were in a position to topple the mighty Chieftains in a 72-hour span last month, only to let a couple of fourth-quarter leads slip away.
"We can't wait to play them again," Koontz said. "We want to play them in sub-state."
Koontz is proud of her team's accomplishments in laying a foundation for a bright future for Lady Bobcat basketball. As a sophomore, she is looking forward to having two more years to cement a legacy.
"It feels really cool," Koontz said. "It is going to be really neat to look back if my kids go to high school here, to be able to tell them that I was playing when Basehor really started winning. I guess not many people get a chance to say that."