Samantha Brunelle is ranked as the No. 1 girls basketball player in the nation in the Class of 2019. Brunelle has returned to USA Basketball and is the most experienced member of the Women’s U16 National Team that is playing in the FIBA Americas U16 Championship this week in Buenos Aires. Brunelle, a 6-2 forward from William Monroe (Ruckersville, Va.), has agreed to share her experiences in Argentina with USA TODAY High School Sports.
Team USA won the gold medal late Sunday night with a 91-46 victory against Canada. The Americans were dominant in the tournament, rarely being challenged as they mounted lopsided victories. Brunelle set a U.S. women’s U16 record for free throw percentage (.933, 14-15 FTs). The USA U16 Women are 24-1 all-time since the FIBA Americas U16 Championship was started in 2009. By reaching the semifinals, the Americans qualified for the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup.
Here is Brunelle’s final entry from Argentina:
It’s just a blessing. I’m so thankful we got the gold. I loved doing it with the group that I’ve done it with. It’s not one person on the team. We all did our thing to win every game how we did. It’s really just amazing.
We went on a 20-0 run in the second quarter against Canada. We upped our energy and intensity. We knew we really wanted this gold so we had to push through any adversity and play USA Basketball. Defensively, we were getting stops and we were getting out in the passing lanes and that caused a lot of turnovers. We were able to run out and get some transition buckets.
I’ve been able to make some great relationships these last few weeks. This team is a really special team and I hope we can continue to stay connected. I believe this group can go all the way next year, so hopefully we’ll all be back. We click so well. The chemistry is all there. I can’t wait to see what happens next year.
My hometown had a celebration last year when I got home so I don’t know if they’re going to do something like that again. It’s a great community and I wouldn’t be surprised if they did. I just can’t wait to get home and share my story with them.
After I get home, I’m going back with Team Loaded for AAU, based in Richmond. I’ll be playing with them the last couple of weeks in June and all of July. It will be fun to catch up with them and get to work on the AAU circuit.
I expect recruiting will be crazy this summer. Hopefully, I’ll have my list out in August and September. It will be a busy few months coming up recruiting-wise.