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February 21, 2019     Lovell Chronicle
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8 I The Lovell Chronicle I February 21,2019 BY DAVID PECK On the outside she was calm and collected with silky smooth ball-handling ability and a deadly accu- rate shot. Inside burned a competitive fire that drove her to succeed. Kristen Scheffler Brown loved basketball and played the game at its high- est level for the Lovell Lady Bulldogs and the Wyoming Cowgirls. The 2008 Lovell High School graduate will be inducted into the LHS Athletic Hall of Fame this Friday during the Pow- ell-Lovell basketball games. The daughter of Dave and Lori Scheffler, Brown was an outstanding has- ketball and volleyball play- er for LHS, lettering and excelling for four years in ,: ! had to respect her shot, : and if she could have had the mentality more often - " ' to do a head fake and drive, :i nobody could stop her." " Geiser said he loved to i trap with a couple of quick players, then as the ball was passed out of the trap, Scheffler would pick it off and go the distance. "I haven't seen many girls in 2A, and even 3A, who could finish in transi- tion like she could, because of her ball-handling," Geis- er said. ON TO COLLEGE Her play soon attract- ed attention, and she got on the radar of Wyoming coach Legerski, who sent assistant coach Gerald Mattinson to watch her play, along with Katie Kern. both sports during high "I really wanted to play school. : DAYI PEcKfor Coach (Tom) Webb at Though known as a Kristen Brown poses with her son Willett and daughter Lily during the eighth-grade NWC, because I had gone basketball player, she was tournament over the weekend in Cowley where their husband/father Calvin was to his camps, and Casper named all-conference incoaching the Riverside Rebels. " College was talking to me volleyball three times and a little, but I didn't hear was all-state as a junior and championship game. from a lot of colleges un- senior. "We could have taken til I played in an AAU tour- "I have to admit vol- State in 2A that year," she nament in Nebraska when leyball my senior year was said. they needed an extra play- pretty fun," she said. "I en- "We would routine- er. A girl (future UW team- joyed it a lot, and I real- ly score 60 to 70 points," mate Brenna Freeze)asked ly enjoyed Coach (Mike)Geiser said. "Those were me to play. I remember af- Greenlee." some high-powered games, ter that a lot of small col- But basketball was In her senior year we out- leges called, and Michigan where she made her mark. scored all 3A girls teams State called. She has been playing the and all eight 3A West boys "I had committed with game as long as she canteams. If you wanted to a verbal to Wyoming, but emember, see scoring you came to a it was cool to hear from "When my dad was theLovell Lady Bulldogs game. colleges." boys coach (in the 1990s) I'd Those were fun games, and Scheffler was a fresh- go to the practices and he'd fun games to coach. We man sensation at UW, start- give me a hall-handling skill played up tempo." ing 22 games and averaging to work on, and I'd go off on Geiser said Scheffler 10.3 points per game, fourth my own while he ran prac- saw her first varsity ac- on the team. She connect- rice," she said. "Then I d tion as a somewhat scared ed on 70 three-p0inters in come back and ask for an- freshman, playing with her 211 attempts, a .332 shoot- other drill." sister Shelli, a senior, and ing percentage. Starting all Providing love and sup- others. Early in the sea- 16 Mountain West Confer- port along the way was son Geiser played Kris- ence games, she was sec- mom Lori. ten in both JV and varsity ond on the team in scoring "She gave me encour-games "just to get her legs at 10.6 ppg. agement and all of the op- under her." At first she av- Brown said she learned portunities to work on eraged 1-2 points per game, a lot from the Wyoming my skills at camps, and, of then 6-8 and later scored in coaching staff. course, I was watching (sib- double figures, he said. "I remember being ag- lings) Tim and Shelli play, At the regional tourna- gressive and doing things so I don't think I could nave ment Lovell beat Pinedale I didn't do in high school," avoided it (basketball)," she and Greybull, then fell to she said. "It changed my said. Wyoming Indian in the aindset as far as looking AK A hint of her competi- championship game, 56- for my shot and being a lit- tive drive showed up when 50, as Scheffler scored 11 tle bit more conscious of she played Little League points. At State Lovell beat when I should shoot and basketball for Janis Beal, Moorcroft and Lingle-Ft. when I should take it (to the the former LHS and North- Laramie before falling to basket)." west College star, herself a Tongue River in the title All the while, she en- member of the LHS Hall of game. The Lady Bulldogs joyed tt/e support she re- Fame. finished l5-9. ceived from her family, "I remember her telling In 2005-06, Lovell went friends and people from me to make a left-hand-23-4 as Scheffler moved the Lovell community and ed layup," Brown said. "I into the starting lineup as beyond. couldn't do it, and I was so a sophomore, with three V.vt. P CK "I definitely did feel the embarrassed that I worked of the four losses corn- Kristen Scheffler drives to the basket against the San support," she said. "A lot all the next summer in my ing at the hands of power- Diego State Aztecs during the:! second round of the of people from Lovell and Grandma's driveway (Jack- house Tongue River, with Mountain West Conference Tournament in Las Vegas in the area came up to me af- one loss to Cody. Scheffler 2010, her sophomore year with the Wyoming Cowgirls. ter games. It was fun to see back from back surgery in three months is kind of un- realistic," she said. "I was stubborn. I wanted to get back on the court, so I pushed it." Kristen played in six games that season, then red-shirred. She tried to play again the next fall, but the still painful back didn't hold up, having mor- phed into localized lower back pain. She had to step away from competitive basketball. To this day the pain is constant. Just putting her shoes on or bending over to lift one of her two children causes pain. Looking back, she doesn't blame the universi- ty for what happened. "My trainers handled it like they thought Coach Joe wanted. He wanted me playing, and I was stubborn and wanted to play. Grow- ing up, I wanted to play basketball, and I wasn't go- ing to get slowed down by a back injury." She was forced to leave the game she loved. And she soon left school with three years under her belt. "With basketball over, my identity was gone," she said. "As funny as that sounds, I was done. I want- ed to go back home." "Home" actually meant Laramie at that time as she had found a job as a para- professional at a day care and loved it. She and even- tual husband Calvin Brown re-started a relationship that had begun back in high school. They were married in September of 2012 and now have two kids. "God doesn't make mistakes," she said. "If I wouldn't have gotten hurt - my plans were to play in the WNBA or go overseas. That puts me in my 30s without a family, and I can't imag- ine that now. I would nev- er choose that. I have some regrets, but I'm not bitter about it." Kristen moved to Ba- sin, Calvin's hometown, and worked as a para at the elementary school un- til daughter Lily was born. She also coached Riverside High School girls basketball as the assistant coach. Calvin teaches phys- ical education for River- side schools, is the middle school AD and coaches the eighth-grade boys basket- ball team. Kristen is an as- sistant coach for the middle school girls program. She also runs Sibfolk Design as ie Minchow) doing almost nothing but left-handed scored 24 points in the first people from back home."a graphic artist with broth- dribbling and shooting so game against the Eagles in and 71 percent at the free- as Scheffler scored 15.But then came the back er Josh and enjoys daughter I could show Janis I could Dayton, and she added 31 throw line. During her senior sea- issue. Kristen was lift- Lily, 4, and son Willett, 2. do it. against Shoshoni with nine In 2007-08 Schef- son Scheffler averaged 20.7 ing weights following the As a coach, she learned "That competitive na- three-pointers, 25 against tier led a relatively young points per game to leadseason, in fact on the last from her mentors that the ture has always been there. Greybull, 20 vs. Rocky, 21 Lovell team into Class 3A Class 3A, and she also av- day of lifting, when during most important things for I always wanted to get bet- vs. Powell, 23 against River- and provided great leader- eraged 5.4 rebounds, 3.6 some fun challenges issued her players are work ethic ter. There were a few team side, 28 against Shoshoni in ship, Geiser said, mentor- steals, 2 blocks and 2 as- by the UW trainers, sheand being coachable, add- camps, but it was most- game two and 21 vs. Rocky. ing younger players, sists per contest. She shot a heard a pop and felt a tin- ing, "That's what I real!y, ly individual (work). Dad At Regionals Lovell won"One of her trademarks blistering 43 percent from gling down he left leg, plus really expect out of them. would open the gym for the title by beating Big Pin- as a senior was that she beyond the arc and hit 73 instant weakening. She im-"When they ask me how me. I was always shooting ey, Shoshoni and Wyoming would come out and score percent at the foul line. mediately dropped the I played college basketball, or dribbling. It was fun." Indian 70-57, and at State in the first quarter to get us Brown has many fond weights. I can't preach it enough. After learning the team Lovell crushed Moorcroft going, to jump start the of- memories of her high It began to feel better, It comes in the off-sea- game in middle school, 55-27 and beat Southeast fense," he said. "She would school playing days. but when she was at home son," she said. "The hardest Kristen Scheffler starred 47-34 as Scheffler scored score 8, 10, 12 points in the "I liked playing for myworking out that summerthing is to get girls to play for four years for her father 24. She added 17 pointsfirst quarter consistently." dad, for suref she said. it got to the point where in the off-season, but that's and head coach Bob Gels-- in the title game against For instance, she "Growing up, I felt he she could hardly walk on where it happens, where er at Lovell High School, Tongue River, but the Lady scored 16 points in a 77- helped me get where I was. the leg, the result of a rup- you get the skills." where she earned all-con- Bulldogs fell 55-51 as start- 33 win over Lyman with 10 ference and all-state hon- ers Betsy Bischoff and Ni- coming in the first quar- ors following her sopho- cole Savage were hobbled, ter. Lovell went 18-3 during more, junior and senior Scheffler finishedthe regular season, losing years, the season averaging 16.7 only to powerful Jackson Having signed to playpoints per game, tops ontwice and to Powell. Play- for the Wyoming Cowgirls the team. ing against 3A competition, and Coach Joe Legerski, In Scheffler's junior Scheffler score 20 points or she was named the Wyo- year the Bulldogs went 16-3 more 13 times including 38 ming Gatorade Basketball during the regular sea- in a 71-40 home win against Player of theY ear following son as the sharpshooter Cody and 35 in a 62-48 One time he got after me in the locker room and said I wasn't working hard. I held it together until I got home. Then I cried, and Mom got after him. "But he was easy to play for. I never felt pressure to be something or reach a standard to succeed. I just could play." her senior season and also had several 19-point games home victory over Powell. In high school, she was won the Milward Simpson and seven with 20 points or She also scored 28 points a ball-handling and shoot- Award as the top studentmore including 31 against against Rocky Mountain ingwhiz, but she played the athlete in Wyoming. She Riverside. At Regionals the andPinedale and 26 against team game. represented her state inL idy Bulldogs beat Sara- Worland and Kemmerer. "Ball-handling was my the Montana-Wyoming all-toga and Lyman but fell to At. the regional tour- most confident area," she tured disc that pinched her sciatic nerve, sending pain down her left leg. Chiropractor Ross Fuller worked to get some of her mobility back, and when the next season started UW trainers gave her a series of medical For Kristen, even a life without playing basketball is rewarding. "My faith has always been a huge part of me," she said. "I know God's will is perfect. I don't doubt that. When basketball was taken away from me it was "cocktails" hoping to find a rough transition to go one to hold off the pain. through. It was hard to ac- She played in all 33 games cept that I don't always get that season coming off the what I want, and that's OK." bench, averaging 7.1 points Calvin and Kristen are per ,game as the "sixth expecting another baby in man and shooting 35 per- May, a boy, and life in Basin cent from downtown as a is good. star series. Wyoming Indian in.the ti- nament in:Pinedale Schef- said. "I was always nervous three-point specialist, hit- "I enjoy Basin for its Scheffler,excelled intie game, 62-50, despite tier score 18 in a 50-41win to come across like a ball ting.43 of 122 shots for be- slow pace," she said. "It's Coach Geiser s high-pow- 19 points from Scheffler. over the host school and hog, but looking back I wish yond the arc. home." ered, fast-moving offense At State Lovell had to play 16in a 60-51 semifinal win I had looked for my shot She finally under- And looking back, many as the Lady Bulldogs played Tongue River again, this over Worland. Jackson won more and taken people off went surgery following Wyoming basketball lovers in the state tournament in time in the first round, and the regiorial title 48-41 over the dribble taken people to her sophomore season, re- will remember for years to all four years of her career, fell 52-49. The Lady Bull,' Lovell as Scheffler was held the basket." " habbed during the sum- come the dazzling guard placing second to Tongue dogs then fell to Lyman477 to 12 ' River in 2005 and 2006, and 42 to finish the season 18.-6; At State Torrington after moving up to 3A when Scheffler scored 17 in each beat Lovell 73-66, and she was a senior, the Lady ofthe games in Casper. Scheffler had to work for Bulldogs placed second to Scheffier finished the all of her 15 points against Jackson in the 3A West re- son averaging 18 points tough) Diana Long, Geiser gional tournament and l er game along with 2.9 as said. She bounced back to went 1-2 at State, falling sists and 5.5 rebounds per score 21 points including 13 to Torrington in the first contest. She also had 97 of 13 foul shots in a 63-50 round, eliminating Doug- steals and 52 blocked shots, win over Douglas but Lovell las and falling to Newcas- She connected on 36 per- fell to Newcastle 52-51 in tie 52-51 in the consolation cent of her three-pointers the consolation title game "She was a team ball- player," Geiser agreed. ,'She had a good team to play with when she was younger, and when she was a senior she picked up the younger kids. She was a-nurturing person who wouldget ev- eryone involved. "On defense she was long and quick, and she could rebound. Everyone I mer, and UW trainers and ' coaches attempted to ease her back to action slowly, but looking back, she real- ized she should have taken a year off, then or even af- ter her freshman year. "I tried to get back into it. They brought me along slowly and gradual- .ly increased my activity, but at that level to bounce from Lovell High School with the deadly shot, smooth and sure ball-ban" dling skills, ball-hawk- ing defense and lightning quick change of pace. Kris- ten Scheffler Brown moved the bar to a new height and will be remembered as one of the most skilled compet- itors to play the game in Wyoming history. II