Waterville-Elysian-Morristown junior Brielle Bartlet can beat a team a lot of different ways. She can hit the outside shot, drives fearlessly through the lane and can hit an off-balance shot along the way.
As the point guard for the Buccaneers, she’s also adept at setting up teammates for easy baskets and defensively, she likes to draw the toughest assignments. Bartlet is a complete player for WEM and she’s also the Daily News’ All-Area Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
Her stats from this year are fantastic. She averaged a team-high 16.3 points per game, shot 43 percent from the field, averaged 3.4 assists a game and pulled down three rebounds a game. But Bartlet also rose to the occasion during the postseason to deliver even better performances. She increased her scoring average to 21.3 points per game in the section tournament, shot 52 percent from the field, including 42 percent on 3-pointers. Each is better than her season average of 41 percent from the field and 35 percent on 3-point attempts.
“She’s always been a very talented offensive player,” Buccaneers head coach Ty Kaus said. “This year we saw more consistency out of her. Her run in our last nine to 10 games was pretty impressive. Starting with that Mountain Lake game she was unstoppable.”
Bartlet scored 27 against Mountain Lake Area, 18 against Springfield and had 32 against Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s in the Section 2A title game to lift WEM to its first-ever trip to the state tournament. Bartlet went on to score 23 against Heritage Christian Academy in the state quarterfinals in a 58-46 victory before the tournament got canceled to limit the spread of COVID-19.
“I think when the bigger games came I got more mentally prepared,” Bartlet said. “It’s a whole different feeling when you realize this could be your last game. I obviously didn’t want that to happen and played the best game I could.”
Bartlet’s played varsity basketball since she was in eighth grade and has led the team as its point guard. She’s crafted her offensive skills through years of driveway basketball with her brother, Bladyn, a 6-footer who pitches at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
“It was very competitive,” Bartlet said. “Going against a 6-foot player you have to get crafty for sure. I don’t think I could’ve done it without him, all those games in the driveway really helped.”
As the point guard for the Bucs, she tries to make things easy for her teammates.
“I try to make sure everyone is one their game,” Bartlet said. “I take those responsibilities seriously ... being a playmaker, getting your teammates open, making them feel good about a shot, putting confidence in your teammates.”
Bartlet has a keen eye for accessing opposing defenses and knowing where to attack. As St. Mary’s tried to limit dribble penetration, she looked outside and WEM started knocking down 3-pointers. The Bucs finished with 14 3-pointers.
“As a coach, you want your point guard to be an extension of you on the court,” Kaus said. “Her basketball IQ is very high. “She does a nice job of being that leader on the floor. When you have a team like ours, she doesn’t feel like she has to do it all. It takes a lot of pressure off you when you don’t have to feel like you have to do everything.”
Bartlet has teammates like Toryn Richards, who averaged 13.2 points per game, Ellie Ready, who can jumpstart the team, Kylie Pittmann, who can knock down 3-pointers and post Trista Hering to finish on easy baskets. It all added up to a No. 7 ranking in Class A and a 27-4 record.
Bartlet eclipsed the 1,000 career points mark this season and came up 19 points shy of the single season scoring mark. She already owns the career 3-point shooting record and is third on the all-time scoring list with 1,221 points. Bartlet will have a chance to break Amanda Barton’s record of 1,486 next season. And Bartlet has more goals for next season.
“I want to win the conference, win the section and get to state again since we lost that this year,” she said. “I want to make that happen. It all starts as a team, putting the work in the gym.”