High School SportsHigh School Girls Basketball


'Work starts now': Future bright for Bigfork hoops star Braeden Gunlock following commitment to BYU

Braeden Gunlock
Posted at 6:17 PM, May 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-10 20:46:37-04

BIGFORK — Braeden Gunlock has been a star for the Bigfork Valkyries for the past three years. Now she's ready to prove herself even more after committing to play college basketball at BYU in April.

"Well, I was pretty excited. My mom was super excited; she was crying through the phone when I told her," Gunlock told MTN Sports. "But the main thing going through my head is just gotta get to work. Work starts now."

After leading the Valkyries to an undefeated season capped off with a Class B state title her sophomore year in 2022-23 and then helping the team advance to the Class A state championship game as a junior this past season, Cortnee Gunlock, her mom and head coach, couldn’t be prouder that her daughter is now set to play at the next level.

Braeden Gunlock
Bigfork basketball standout and future BYU Cougar Braeden Gunlock.

"I am so proud of her and her hard work, her dedication," said Cortnee Gunlock. "You know my husband and I, we gave her the opportunity and she thrived on it, and she worked her tail off for this. And I'm just ... I'm very proud of her and I'm very happy that she gets this opportunity."

It was at the end of April while on an official visit to campus in Provo, Utah, that Gunlock decided to verbally accept an offer from BYU, which the program made in August 2023.

"We were are actually hatchet throwing, and after I beat the head coach in a one-v-one hatchet throwing situation, I told her that I really like it here, I could see myself going here and saying that I have to commit, it's just the place for me," Braeden Gunlock said.

As a junior, Gunlock averaged 17.6 points on 55.3% shooting as the Valkyries wasted no time adjusting to life in Class A.

Having been playing basketball her whole life, Gunlock credits much of her success to the support of her family and knows what she’s most thankful for.
"I'd say my mom and my sister for pushing me, like Paeton made me better as a defender and (as an) offensive player, honestly her defense is amazing," said Braeden Gunlock. "But (I credit) my mom for pushing me to be better and better every day, and my dad for pushing me to be better as an individual on and off the court."

Cortnee Gunlock, Braeden's coach for most of her basketball career, has nothing but faith that her daughter will continue to excel in the collegiate ranks.

"She's hard on herself more than anything," said Cortnee Gunlock. "She's never satisfied with her play. She wants more. She doesn't want to be a failure.

"And I'm sure there's going to be people that say that you're not going to go play at this level. So that's going to drive her more to play at this level. I just see this kid thriving there. She knows what she needs to work on. And she's a winner."

Braeden Gunlock still has her senior year awaiting. Gunlock, her mom and younger sister will seek out a third straight state championship appearance and second state title in three years.