Brianne Mack wasn’t leaving anything to chance – the 2010-11 high school basketball season was going to be the best one of her young life.
Last summer, the 6-foot-3 SouthLake Christian Academy center spent as much time on the court as she could. She played pickup ball. She played AAU ball. She practiced tirelessly in sweltering gymnasiums when the summer-league contests were done, trying to hone the smallest aspects of her game.
“First and foremost, I wanted to improve every part of my game,” Mack said. “It was really important to me that I do all the little things, like box out and rebound. I just wanted to be a person who helped my team win. I wanted to be the best player I could be.”
When the season was complete, even the ultra-demanding Mack couldn’t be disappointed.
Mack averaged 17 points, 15 rebounds and four blocked shots while leading the Eagles to a 22-8 record and the second round of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 2A tournament. She also earned the distinction of being the first SouthLake Christian player to be named to the NCISAA 1A All-State team.
For her efforts, Mack also is Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group’s 2010-11 Lake Norman-Area Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
“This off-season, she worked hard and made great improvement,” SouthLake Christian coach Terry Batts said. “We started working on her playing with her back to the basket to go along with her other skills. I think she just adopted being a leader halfway through the season, and it worked out for the best for our whole team.
“I think what propelled her is that she played against a girl who’s been on top of the recruiting in the state – (Cary Christian’s) Dakota Dukes. In our state tournament game against (Dukes), ‘Bri’ had 18 points, 12 blocked shots and 18 rebounds. That really made a difference for her.”
More and more college recruiters have noticed. Thus far, Mack has received interest from schools such as James Madison, Virginia Commonwealth, Western Carolina and Princeton. But that list is expected to grow this summer, when Mack begins more months of AAU ball and intense training as she prepares for her senior season at SouthLake.
She liked the feeling she experienced this year when she learned she’d been chosen for the private-school All-State squad, and she’s willing to do what it takes to earn more honors.
“I was pretty excited, but I was also humbled by it, being the first SouthLake player to do it,” she said. “I kind of realized that there wasn’t anything anybody couldn’t do if they put their mind to it. I was really proud of myself. It was also motivation for me to remember that it was something that I worked for and (that) if I keep working, I can receive other honors.
“So, definitely, I’m going to work even harder this summer.”