RUN AND GUNGON: Shifty guard runs Crocus offence


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Slightly taller than her flowing, black ponytail, Alyanna Gungon makes those who underestimate her pay.

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Slightly taller than her flowing, black ponytail, Alyanna Gungon makes those who underestimate her pay.

The Crocus Plainsmen point guard scored 14 points in a 64-54 win over Neelin to capture the Crocus Plains Early Bird varsity girls’ basketball tournament crown on Saturday. Most of it came near the hoop and almost all her shots were contested.

That’s unusual for a five-foot-two guard, but she’s no usual player. She’s fearless.

“Coach (Adam) Hartman’s trained that out of me,” Gungon said. “He does a lot of drills where I have to go against big people and I think I’m used to it. There was definitely that fear, especially last year but now I know if I go up, I go up and most of the time I get fouled anyways.

“He has me always finish outside my body. Especially since I’m so small I have to be able to get outside. If I go straight up, I’m getting stuffed every time.”

Gungon can score around the rim with both hands and uses her body to create space, almost like an old-school centre tossing up hook shots.

She benefited from a slightly undersized Neelin lineup but still faced forwards eight inches taller after shaking her defender and driving to the rim.

“It’s definitely an ego booster, especially scoring on people so tall and so much bigger than me. I take pride in it but try not to let it get to my head,” Gungon said with a laugh.

Gungon is likely to see a huge bump in minutes as she fills Jasmine Horwood’s shoes at guard. Horwood moved on to play for the Manitoba College Athletic Conference’s Providence Pilots.

Gungon said last year she felt relaxed, like there wasn’t much pressure on her and she could watch the seniors take charge. She’s figuring it out and said her teammates make it easier to step into the role.

“If I was playing one-on-one, it’d be so much harder because most of my success comes from my team,” Gungon said.

“They provide that support, knowing they’re there, knowing if I mess up or fumble … they’ll always have my back.”

The Plainsmen kick off the Brandon High School Basketball league season at Vincent Massey on Dec. 20, a day after the junior varsity season opens with the Vikings visiting the Plainsmen.

The next step for the brilliant Grade 12 student — Gungon maintains a high-90s average — is actually figuring out how to think less.

“My coach has been on me recently about how I’m too calculated with my moves,” Gungon said. “Especially these past couple of games he told me to just go. Just put on the boosters and run. Most of the time, I tend to think things through quite a bit.

“… Once I stop overthinking, I got it.”


» Twitter: @thomasmfriesen

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