By Justin Whitaker
BROWNSBURG — In the past four years, there have been a lot of highlights for the girl Brownsburg coach Amy Brauman calls “the greatest player that’s come through Brownsburg High School.”
In Wednesday night’s 78-51 victory against Plainfield, senior Stephanie Mavunga had the brightest night of her Bulldog career.
The North Carolina-bound forward set a new school record by scoring 44 points, passing coach Brauman’s record of 41 points set in 1991.
“Words can’t even explain it,” said Mavunga, who also had 19 rebounds and six blocked shots. “I’m just really excited and blessed to have some of the best teammates, I feel like, in the nation.”
Brauman’s high praise of Mavunga carries extra weight as she herself was an Indiana All-Star and one of the best players in Bulldog history.
“It is a big accomplishment, she’s a great player,” Brauman said. “I thought tonight she really got in the game with a lot of low post moves to get her going. I thought she ran the floor well and that we did a really nice job of getting her the ball.”
Brauman joked with Mavunga that she would pull her out when she got to 40, one point short of Brauman’s record. Mavunga took a seat on the bench in the third quarter when she found out that she was close to the record.
“I realized ‘wow, I’m this close,’” Mavunga said. “Then (Brauman) brought me back in and I really do appreciate that.”
The record-setting points came on a lay-up where Mavunga made the shot and was fouled at 2:45 remaining in the game. She celebrated with a subtle fist pump as the Brownsburg bench erupted in celebration. Mavunga made the free throw and exited the game immediately to a loud ovation and high fives from her coaches and teammates.
“My coach always tells me, ‘Keep banging on the inside. If no one can stop you, keep going,’” Mavunga said. “And that’s exactly what I did.”
For Plainfield coach Curt Benge, the Quakers had only one player at 6-foot-1 and two others at 6-feet. The size differential proved too much for the Quakers to effectively guard the 6-foot-4 Mavunga.
“Just physically ... she’s taller than anyone we have, so it’s hard to keep her from getting to her spots,” Benge said. “It’s a physical thing as much as anything and she’s very skilled also.”
Plainfield hung in the game through the first half as they led 6-2 after five Brownsburg turnovers in the first three minutes of the game. The Quakers trailed 20-12 after the first quarter and hovered within seven to 10 points through the remainder of the second quarter.
Mavunga scored her 15th point of the first half with a couple of seconds remaining in the second quarter. The Bulldogs led 39-28 at half-time before bursting out of the locker room.
Brownsburg opened the second half on a 10-0 run to lead 49-28 and effectively put the game away for the Bulldogs.
“They got that bucket right before the half and then they got the ball and scored right away and we did some things that we didn’t do in the first half against their pressure,” Benge said. “They got some easy baskets and once it got to 16, 17, it was hard to get it back. Hard for our team to fight uphill against a team that’s got a player like (Mavunga).”
Plainfield was paced by senior Mackenzie Jeffries who scored 12 points on four 3-pointers.
Other notable Bulldog performances include senior Kayle Comer’s 11 points; freshman Aliyah Walker’s nine points, six steals, and five rebounds; and sophomore Chloe Dygert’s eight points and four points.