Hornets' first statewide pick since Valbracht in 2001-02
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
Senior Westley Brandsgaard of the Chillicothe High School basketball Hornets has been voted to the 2019-20 Missouri Basketball Coaches Association’s (MBCA) Class 3 boys’ All-State team, it was learned last week.
It is the latest postseason recognition for him, previously having been chosen first-team all-Midland Empire Conference, MBCA Class 3 District 14 all-district, and Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association all-northwest district, as well as included on various individual media entities’ honors squads. It is, however, her first occasion of receiving statewide recognition.
Brandsgaard had the top season of his career this past season.
“I am extremely proud of Wes,” Hornets head coach Tim Cool praises. “… This honor is very well-deserved for a young man who continued to improve as a player and became an outstanding leader for our program.”
A starter since relatively-early in his freshman year, the 6’3” forward popped in 20.3 points per game on overall 56 percent shooting from the field, scoring extensively and consistently in every way possible. Half inside bruiser and half sniper from the free-throw and 3-points lines, he scored 144 points on free throws, 141 on 3-points shots, and 242 points on deuces. He also averaged 5.4 rebounds, two assists, and 1.4 steals a contest.
This season, he either led or shared the CHS lead in points in 17 of the 21-5 Hornets’ 26 contests. In 15 of those 17, he reached at least 20 markers, topped twice by a career-high 30 points (Dec. 17 at Macon and Feb. 27 vs. Brookfield). In addition, he had 29 tallies in the first of two Hornets triumphs this season over archrival Maryville and 28 in a Savannah Invitational Tournament game against Platte County – a key bounce-back win after the team unexpectedly had dropped its season opener against the hosts.
“Wes consistently featured his versatility as a scorer. Whether he was hitting three point shots, slashing to the rim from the perimeter, or punishing opponents in the low post, Wes was always a threat to score,” details the CHS coach. “He was also one of the best defenders I have had the privilege of coaching, always capable of shutting down the other team's top threat.”
Absorbing a tremendous, game-in, game-out pounding under the basket to do so, Brandsgaard also approached team records in several free-throw shooting categories. His 426 successful foul shots in his career – 144 of them this year, fourth-most ever by a Hornet – are the second-most in program history, behind only his uncle’s 465.
Three times this past season, he hit 10 or more free throws in a game. In the first of his two career-best-matching 30-points outings, nearly half of his points came after Macon fouls as he went 14 of 17 at the stripe.
Brandsgaard’s CHS cage career ended with him being the fourth-leading scorer all-time in Hornets hoops history, amassing 1,535 points. That trails only his uncle and all-time leader Justin Bland (2,269), Mitch Parrish (2,124), and Eric Hemmer (1,830).
During the season, he also became tops in CHS boys’ history in successful 3-pointers with 141, 17 more than former record-holder Mason Hayward’s 124. He jacked his shooting percentage from beyond the arc up a whopping 10 percent from his junior campaign, finding his mark 42 percent of the time in 2019-20.
“As his career progressed, the 3-times all-Midland Empire Conference pick set the tone every day in practice. His work ethic, determination, and leadership have made us all better,” Cool lauds, that observation underscored by Brandsgaard’s selection for the Beckett Hustle Award at this year’s Cameron Invitational Tournament.
“… Wes will go down in Hornets basketball history as an all-time great.”
Brandsgaard was one of two 2019-20 Hornets worthy of All-State examination – the other being guard C.J. Pfaff. Pfaff led the team in rebounds, assists, steals, and shot blocks, while averaging over 18 points per game and virtually matching Brandsgaard in shooting accuracy. Had the Chillicothe boys managed to win the district title and reach the state tournament, it’s possible that – plus the closeness of their elevated statistics – might have been enough for both to be included on the 20-players MBCA elite squad, as probably was justified.