Brunelle named NHSCA player of the year, joins prestigious group

Photo by John Berry

William Monroe’s Sam Brunelle can now add another award to a long, storied list that includes the 2018 Gatorade National Player of the Year and McDonald’s All-American.


The Notre Dame-bound star was named the National High School Coaches Association’s national senior girls basketball athlete of the year.  


Brunelle joins a pretty prestigious list that includes 2004 winner and Tennessee legend Candace Parker who plays for the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, 2008 winner Elena Delle Donne who plays for the Washington Mystics and 2009 honoree Skylar Diggins who starred at Notre Dame before becoming an all-star for the Dallas Wings.  


Brunelle is the third winner from Virginia, joining Elisabeth Williams from Princess Anne back in 2011 and Megan Walker from Monacan in 2017. Williams now plays for the Atlanta Dream and was a reserve 2017 All-Star pick while Walker just played a big role in leading UConn to the Final Four.


Brunelle is the state’s 11th all-time leading scorer and sixth all-time leading rebounder. Her 2,292 points puts her second locally among public school players behind Andrea Barbour while she’s the area’s leading all-time rebounder among public school players with 1,267 boards. It’s worth noting, of course, that she missed the bulk of her senior season with a foot injury and subsequent surgery.


She jumped back into the lineup in the regional tournament and helped spark the Dragons to a state semifinal where they fell to Hopewell. It was the second of two straight state tournament appearances, the first of which ended a 30-year drought for the Dragons.


Brunelle has also done a lot of work off the court, using her platform to raise money for Houston-area hurricane victims and draw attention to her trainer Damin Altizer’s daughter’s cerebral palsy fight, signing her national LOI with her left hand as Katie was working to learn to use her left hand at that time.