March 5, 2014

Brandt can celebrate

Jeremy Brandt’s passion and understanding for the game of basketball can’t be questioned and his coaching record shows that – three state tournament appearances, soon to be a fourth, and a state championship. But Brandt has added another impressive feat to his coaching career.
On Jan. 7 Brandt won his 300th basketball game against Bowman County in a rout. The Miners won 76-39 that night and only suffered one more loss over the final two months of the season. But the road to 300 is full of memorable games, not just one.
One of Brandt’s most memorable games is one that will be talked about by Class B lovers for a long, long time. Brandt was coaching Bottineau in the state championship game – where they fell in triple overtime on the Minot State floor that Brandt played his college ball on.
The college court gave him a little alumni support for most of the tournament but didn’t push him over the hump in the title game. Brandt felt like the court’s support wore off from when his Braves started playing “not to lose” instead of playing to win.
“It seemed to (give an advantage) for the first two-and-half games worth. Then we actually played really well until about the fourth quarter and we just kind of quit playing to win and just to preserve the lead and it wasn’t good enough,” Brandt said.
Brandt said the game stands out because of its significance and the drama involved in it. The 2005 trip was his first to that state tournament and he came up just a millimeter short of a state title. He described why it’s probably at the top of his list of memorable games.
“Probably so because of the way it went down and the significance of the game, too, being the state championship game and going to those overtimes like that. Yeah it’s vivid alright,” Brandt said.
Shortly after 2005 is when Brandt’s sweater vest started to appear. Not only has the look given him comfort in tight games like the 2005 state championship. But it has also helped him to a state championship in 2012 and seventh place finish at state tournament in 2010.
Brandt can’t pinpoint an exact day the look made its first appearance. But he does remember vividly how uncomfortable ties made him before the wardrobe switch.
“To be honest I don’t even know when for sure. I would say probably, well it wasn’t around in 2005 yet, I would say somewhere after 2005 is when I started wearing the sweater vest. During games I would always find myself unbuttoning the top button when I had a tie on and pulling that tie down because I’d feel like I was choking.”
“I’d get sweaty around the neck, then sticky, and I’d feel like I was choking myself off. So I just said, ‘you know what, I have to quit wearing a tie.’ So I found some Nike sweater vests at the time and that’s when I started wearing those, and I guess that’s the way the story goes.”


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