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Three-sport athlete discusses basketball's improvement

COAL CITY – Brennen Shetina has vital roles – quarterback in football, point guard in basketball and catcher in baseball – for varsity teams at Coal City High School.

After the Coalers defeated Seneca, 46-36, on Wednesday night to advance to the championship game in the Interstate Eight Conference boys basketball tournament, the Morris Daily Herald caught up with Shetina.

Q. I think you’d admit that at one point, you guys weren’t playing your best basketball. It seems like maybe you’re getting back to the [highest] level you can play. What weren’t you doing when you weren’t playing your best?

A. I feel like when we went through a little slump at Plano, we weren’t trying to push the ball at all. We were just trying to execute half-court stuff. Since the Plano tournament, we’re pushing the ball, hitting shots, playing in transition more. I think that’s what got us going.

Q. I know you got big minutes last year, but maybe you weren’t called upon to score as much as you are now. How has your role changed between the two seasons?

A. I feel like last year and this year are basically the same. Just lost a few guys that had bigger roles last year. I feel like my role really hasn’t changed in the last two years.

Q. Nick [Peters], you feed him the ball a lot in basketball. You fed him the ball a lot in football. The back-and-forth between you two is kind of constant in the two sports. What’s your relationship off the field, off the court like?

A. It’s the same you see out on the basketball court with us, too. We’re with each other basically all day in class. We’ve been like that since we were in sixth grade, and it’s just grown ever since. It’s nice to have a guy like that who’s been through everything with you.

Q. Were you playing both sports that whole time?

A. Yeah. Played football throughout middle school too for the rec team, the Miners, and played with each other then. Same thing in high school, same positions, everything.

Q. Lane [Cowherd] been there the whole time, too?

A. No, Lane didn’t play football in middle school, but the same – he’s been with us for basketball all the way through.

Q. The football season, I don’t think you expected it to be as hard to get into the playoffs as it was. What was that whole few days or 24-hour stretch like where you were waiting it out?

A. It was tough sitting there on Saturday, waiting for the pairings to end up coming up, and then finally see them come out and see where we got placed. We knew it was going to be tough going in. They were a good team, but we didn’t really play that well all year, I felt like, and then came out Saturday and gave them a good fight. They got the better of us in the second half.

Q. One thing that you were able to do individually in football is make a defensive impact. What was that like, being able to contribute the way you did on that side?

A. I’ll do whatever it takes to help my team win. I really don’t care what it is. I’ll go kick if I have to. Whatever it takes to win. It’s nice getting back on the defensive side after playing it my freshman and sophomore year.

Then my junior year, we had the senior-dominated defense where it was all seniors but one, and then a role opened up on defense.

I kind of took it and ran with it.

Q. I’ve heard that you were thinking about playing basketball at college. How’s the process there going, and did you consider football at all?

A. I did consider football. I talked to quite a few schools for football. Talked to a few for basketball. It’s a fun process.

It’s nice to see people take interest in you. It’s interesting.

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