By Jake Thompson
— Brownsburg’s all-everything basketball powerhouse Stephanie Mavunga added the biggest award to her ongoing accolades of the postseason. Following being named a McDonald’s All-American and the Gatorade Indiana Player of the Year, Mavunga took the state’s biggest prize as she was named Indiana Miss Basketball.
“I don’t even know how to say it,” Mavunga said. “It’s been a busy month and I’ve been hearing all of the different things and the only thing I can say is I’m blessed. There really just isn’t much more to say than that.”
The 6-foot-4 forward averaged 23 points, 12.7 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks per game this season, shooting 62 percent from the field. Mavunga led the Bulldogs to their first sectional title in 12 seasons with a 51-45 victory over Pike.
“The feeling was indescribable when I found out,” Mavunga said. “I jumped up and down, did a few laps around the house, and was at a loss for words. I was really excited and still am.”
The North Carolina-bound Mavunga took the honor by a narrow margin over Hamilton Southeastern’s Taya Reimer in a 79-74 vote. Reimer will head to Notre Dame next season and the pair could see each other again in the college ranks.
“It’s nice to have someone in your state who pushes you to be better,” Mavunga said. "It’s nice to reach out with a phone call and say ‘Hey, can you give me pointers on my game?’ or have someone to go to the gym with you and will push you.
“I respect her, her game and everything about her. It’s nice to have her around. We’ll play in six games, including the McDonald’s All-American game, before we may meet in college.”
Now Mavunga will have an All-Star jersey put up on the wall of the Brownsburg gym, like her coach Amy Brauman. Both respect the honor of being an Indiana All-Star.
“Sometimes I would get frustrated in practice when I’d miss a shot and she would be there to encourage me and I would think she just doesn’t know how frustrating it is,” Mavunga said. “But then I’d look up and see her jersey and know she did. She’s been a phenomenal coach and to be able to see how much she accomplished inspired me.”
Brauman was obviously thrilled for Mavunga and realizes the magnitude of this accomplishment.
“She kind of respects what I say to her since I played a million years ago,” Brauman said. “It’s a great honor and doesn’t happen very often, especially Miss Basketball. It seems like a one in a million type of thing.”
Mavunga will wear the coveted No. 1 jersey as the Indiana All-Stars take on the Kentucky All-Stars June 14 in Louisville.and at Bankers Life Fieldhouse June 15.