WESTFIELD, Ind. — When Brownsburg’s Stephanie Mavunga wasn’t making plays, freshman Aliyah Walker was.
The duo was too much for Westfield to handle Saturday, and the Bulldogs knocked off the Shamrocks 48-44 in a Hoosier Crossroads Conference showdown for second place.
Mavunga and Walker made it tough on the Shamrocks to overcome being nearly five points behind the entire second half.
“It’s the fact that we work hard,” Mavunga said. “I’m not saying that we don’t have a lot of talent, but I feel like hard work leads talent.”
Mavunga had 18 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks for the Bulldogs. Walker had just seven points but came up with significant plays, a sign of what’s to come years down the road for the Bulldogs.
“She’s a very smart kid and she’s a good basketball player,” Brownsburg coach Amy Brauman said. “We sometimes forget that she’s a freshman because she does so much on the floor.”
Walker made plays to give the Bulldogs an edge. She split from the free throw line to spark a 7-0 run for Brownsburg in the second quarter. The Bulldogs forced a turnover and Walker gave up a clear shot next to the basket, as teammate Kayle Comer scored on a jumper to give Brownsburg an 18-17 lead.
Mavunga and Walker each scored to extend the lead.
“It was a really big challenge,” Walker said. “Coming second in conference is really good. As a team, that’s just one of our goals.”
Walker certainly did everything she could to contribute to the Bulldogs (13-3, 7-1 HCC) being the lone team behind HCC leader Hamilton Southeastern.
Comer hit a fourth-quarter 3-pointer to give the Bulldogs a 39-32 lead, but Walker ripped the ball from Westfield and Zhane Roper scored two free throws to make it 41-32 with 5:14 left.
But Westfield (15-2, 6-2) made a run. Kayla Brown, who led Westfield with 18 points, converted a three-point play with 1:12 left to put Westfield within 45-42. Mavunga scored on a free throw, and Brown drove to the basket to make it 46-44. Brownsburg hit another free throw and Walker kept the Shamrocks from tying the score with a blocked shot near the arc.
“She’s going to be a handful,” Westfield coach Shane Sumpter said. “She’s just athletic. We talked about trying to keep her off the glass, and she’s a driver.”
The Shamrocks took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Westfield’s Jenn Anderson scored seven points, all in the first half. The Indiana recruit sat out most of the second half with an undisclosed injury.