Brandes inks basketball letter of intent with Bethany College

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News
Bunceton senior Maddie Brandes recently inked a letter of intent to play basketball at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas. On hand during the signing last week in Bunceton were (front row, left to right) Debbie Brandes, Tim Brandes and Maddie Brandes. (back row, left to right) Keith Ferguson, head coach, and Dustin Ray, head coach at Bunceton.

Bunceton senior Maddie Brandes said after signing with Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas that it felt like home and it was like she was wanted there.

They were also very welcoming, she said.

A two-year starter for the Lady Dragons Basketball Team, Brandes will definitely be a welcome sight for the Swedes after averaging 8.8 ppg and 9.2 rpg in 2020-21. Brandes also finished the season shooting 40 percent from the field and 66 percent from the foul line.

Bethany College women’s basketball coach Keith Ferguson said the program is excited about Brandes and you know she will bring some size and experience and you know she wants to compete. “I think Maddie is a kid that has a chance to really grow and continue to improve and she’s still got a high ceiling I think for us,” Ferguson said. “She will be like a lot of players in our offense in that she is very positionless, but she’s got to be in play for a five spot. I think Maddie’s got a chance to come in and get a few minutes, however, we’ve got some really good all-conference players in front of her to help her. There’ll be seniors that will help her learn.”

Bunceton with Prairie Home girls basketball coach Dustin Ray said he’s happy for Maddie because she’s worked really hard. “The progression she’s made from sophomore whenever I first got here to now, it’s almost like night and day. She deserves every bit of this and I’m happy that she’s found a place that she’s very comfortable and that she can call home. The thing that separates Maddie from a lot of other players is her aggressiveness and being aggressive with her size is something that is hard to teach and that’s what I’ve said from the very beginning. She has something you can’t teach and that’s the determination to win, and of course, you can’t teach being her size and the presence she has in the middle. It’s unbeatable.”

Of course Brandes knows she still has to improve to play at the next level. She said in order to play at the next level, she has to improve her ball handling and shot range.

Brandes short-term goals at Bethany College are to earn minutes on the court for varsity, while her long-term goals are to continue to earn minutes on the court and encourage the underclassmen to keep working. 

So far so good. In addition to playing for the Lady Dragons the last four years, Brandes also earned most improved player in 2018-19, Otterville Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team in 2020-21, CCAA All-Conference Honorable-Mention 2020-21 and North Central All-District Team (media) in 2020-21. 

Although Brandes has been playing basketball for the last 10 years, or since third grade, she said the highlight of her career individually has been when she was being named to the all-conference and all-district team this past season. As far as team highlight, she said it’s when the Lady Dragons were given a state ranking.

Looking back, Brandes said she wanted to win a district title during her four-year career but they were eliminated in the semifinals. 

As far as what she will miss about playing basketball at Bunceton, Brandes said it’s definitely her teammates and coaches and the crowd, who was always encouraging.

Along with Bethany College, Brandes said she was also interested in Central Methodist University in Fayette. “Bethany College had been watching me through HUDL and approached me in the late fall,” Brandes said. “They wanted me and it felt like home so that’s why I signed there.”