Continuing a family legacy


Niki Smithers

Joe and his son, senior Joey Brunk, posed with a sectional trophy and game ball. The father-son duo won their titles 39 years apart.

Mark Carlson, Reporter

The Brunk legacy starts back in 1977 when Joe Brunk helped his team win a sectional title in his junior year. Now a Brunk sits atop the sectional throne again after Joey helped lead SHS to a sectional title.
While Joey and his father both won sectionals, they had very different basketball experiences. Joe had a long-lasting team that had a lot of experience playing together, but Joey has an experienced father to help his game has helped him reach the high level he is at now.
“My dad’s definitely my biggest fan and my biggest critic at the same time, and after games we always talk about what I did well and what I need to work on,” Joey said. “A big part of our relationship is basketball.”
During SHS’s tournament runs in 1977 and in 2016 both Brunks lead their teams in points per contest and played important roles on their teams. According to an Anderson newspaper Joe was “difficult for the Falcons to manage.” It seems for Joey, his around the basket game as well as his ability to step out and make threes had proved difficult for opponents to manage, as well, as he has been in double digit points in every tournament game through regionals.
Even though Joey was the team’s leading scorer in tournament games against Pike, Roncalli and Terre Haute South, he did not win those games alone. He worked with his teammates and relied upon relationships that he had built with them since sixth grade or since his sophomore year, according to Joe.
“He went to (middle school) with Elijah (Walton) but some of the other kids he just met in high school,” Joe said.
This differs from Joe’s experience since he knew most of his teammates since elementary. school Their teamwork was a key to the team being able to win the sectional championship, according to Joe.
Even though Joe knew his high school teammates longer before they won the sectional, Joey played middle school ball with Walton and Luke Johnston who are now both starters. He had also become acquainted with Paul Scruggs who would later become his teammate. According to Joe, the relationships his son has built have become very strong in a short amount of time.
“They’re close, and they pull for each other and they are into it for the right reasons and that’s a strong bond,” Joe said.
The bonds Joey made during his younger years have helped build a strong team. Joey had known three of the other starters since elementary. The only current starter he didn’t know before high school was Blake Evans who he met sophomore year after spending his freshman year at Park Tudor.
Joey, while sharing a strong bond with his teammates, also shares a strong bond with his dad. They talk about basketball and one of the reasons Joey chose to play at Butler was so he could stay close to home and be with his family. They also still have “friendly” games, according to Joe. They still play horse, and he can even still beat Joey.
“I still beat him one on one. Ask him who wins the horse games,” Joe said.