Fans in Central Virginia have watched Samantha Brunelle shine on the basketball court for the past four seasons as she has broken records, won numerous accolades and helped William Monroe win a regional championship and earn back-to-back state tournament berths.
On Monday night, the nation got a glimpse of Brunelle’s talent.
In front of a nationally televised audience on ESPN2, Brunelle won the 3-point contest at the McDonald’s All-American Game’s Powerade Jam Fest in Atlanta.
In the contest, competitors have the opportunity shoot 25 3-pointers over a one-minute span. They shoot five shots off of a rack from five different locations, the two corners, the two wings and the top of the key.
Each made basket counts for one point. Four of the five racks also have one “money ball” which counts for two points if the shot using that ball is made. One rack has five money balls, giving the competitor a chance to score 10 points on one rack. Each competitor gets to choose where the “money ball” rack is located.
Brunelle, who has signed to play for defending national champion Notre Dame, finished with 22 total points during her round, which was the highest total of any competitor in the event, male or female.
“It was an amazing experience,” Brunelle said on Tuesday. “My legends team was great and it makes it easy when you’re a team of shooters. The 3-point contest was so much fun, getting to go against other great shooters and showcasing our skills was awesome.”
Brunelle came out hot, hitting her first three shots of the competition from the corner. Brunelle hit three more shots from the wing, including the “money ball” to give her seven points as she went to the top of the key.
Brunelle chose the top of the key as the location for her rack of money balls.
She chose wisely.
The Greene County native hit three of her five money-ball shots, adding six points to her total. Brunelle then moved to the opposite wing, where she sank all five of her shots to move her total to 19 points. On the final rack from the opposite corner, Brunelle hit four of her five shots, but the final shot came after the one minute time limit had expired, so only three of the four made shots counted toward her total.
It did not matter.
Brunelle won going away, beating her closest competitor by four points.
The 3-point championship kicked off a big week for Brunelle, who will play in the McDonalds All-American Game on Wednesday in Atlanta. Brunelle will play for the East team and wear No. 33 in the game, which tips off at 5 p.m. on ESPN2.
“The whole week has been a blast getting to hang out with all the girls and competing with the best of the best every day,” Brunelle said. “I can’t wait for [Wednesday] to play the game and have a fun time.”