Most children begin playing sports when they’re young, growing into just one or two sports by the time they become freshmen. For recent Dakota Valley graduate and school record holder Paul Bruns, the story is a little bit different – he excelled in three sports.
Bruns began his sports career at a young age, playing baseball, football and basketball.
“Basketball and baseball were the two main sports when I was growing up,” Bruns said. “I’ve been playing them since... since I could walk, I think. I played football up through 7th grade. Just didn’t have enough time, really.”
The Bruns family moved to Dakota Dunes from Clear Lake, IA when Bruns was entering 8th grade. He joined the boys basketball team that winter and played in his first varsity game Jan. 17, 2017. His first recorded varsity statistic was a rebound against Canton. Not much later, Feb. 4, 2017, Bruns scored his first points on varsity. He made 5 points for the team against Beresford at the Sanford Coyote Sports Center in Vermillion.
That year, the Dakota Valley boys basketball team made it to the state tournament, bringing out Bruns’ first state experience. The team took 5th place that year.
As a freshman, Bruns led the basketball team in points for the first time Dec. 16, 2017 with 16 points against Woodbury Central. The basketball team made it to the state tournament where they received 6th place.
During his sophomore year, he was the first Dakota Valley boy to be named to First Team All-State by the South Dakota Basketball Coaches Association. He was also named Player of the Game at the DAK12/NEC Clash. He scored 40 points in one game against River Valley in Correctionville, IA. Not even a month later, he broke his own record, scoring 42 points.
The next year, as a junior, he did it again, breaking his own record and scoring 44 points in one game. The next game after that, Bruns scored his 1,000th career point. The team made it to the state basketball tournament, but due to COVID-19, it was cancelled. Bruns was named Class A player of the Year and Class A All-State First Team.
In his senior year, Bruns broke another school basketball record. On Jan. 22, 2021 Bruns pulled down his 679th rebound, breaking Shawn Reiff’s 678 record set in 2000. On Feb. 18, 2021 against Sioux City East, he scored his 2,000th point for his high school career. He ended the game with 2,002 career points. The team made it to the state tournament where they brought home 3rd place. He was named to All-State Class A First Team, DAK-12 MVP, All-Conference First Team and All Class Boys First Five (by the Sioux Falls Argus Leader).
He ended his high school basketball career with 2,206 career points, 915 rebounds, 237 assists, 165 steals, 39 blocks and 46 double-doubles.
See full story in this week’s Dakota Dunes / North Sioux City Times.