MARYVILLE, Mo. — Serena Sundell took her show on the road this past week to the state known as the birthplace of basketball.
The Spoofhound star and her KC Lady Run GMC teammates invaded Indiana, playing in three different events and finished the week with a 7-3 overall record.
“It is a lot of fun,” Sundell said. “It is such a different style of play from high school to club ball, so it is fun to get to play at that fast pace and in a lot of competitive games.”
The Kansas City-based club began the trip on Saturday, July 6, in the Hoosier Heat event in Indianapolis. Playing in the three-day event, the team went 4-0 against squads from Illinois, Maryland, Florida and Mississippi.
“That tournament, I think we were all really excited to come out,” Sundell said. “We were all nervous, but a good nervous. There were a lot of (college) coaches there and the games were really transition based. I enjoyed that tournament.”
The success continued for the Run GMC squad with a 70-34 win over another team from Maryland in the Indy 500 Shootout.
Sundell and her teammates then began their main event for the week at the Girls Under Armor Association Session II event at the Indiana Pacers’ Complex in Westfield, Indiana. They needed a good showing to set themselves up for the UAA 17-under Championships next week in Atlanta, Georgia.
“After the first Under Armor session in Pennsylvania, we knew that all these games were going to be tough,” Sundell said.
Run GMC got off to a strong start with a 55-53 victory over BC Denver. They had to withstand a late charge from the Colorado squad after holding a 13-point lead going into the fourth quarter, but were able to get the win. Sundell led her team with 13 points including 3-of-5 from three.
“We had probably a nine-point lead with a couple minutes left, so (coach Rodney Gilyard) thought we were clear so he put in a couple of our girls off the bench and I think they were probably a little nervous,” Sundell said. “They faced the full-court pressure and the other team was excited that they got the momentum. He had to put us back in there and we secured it.”
The next matchup against the Minnesota Metro Stars provided the highlight of the tournament for Sundell with a buzzer-beating three off of an inbounds pass from Kansas State commit Jaelyn Glenn. Sundell, who had struggled with her shooting touch early in the game, hit a step-back three to send the game to overtime.
“It was pretty intense,” Sundell said. “We were down three and called timeout. (Gilyard) advanced the ball to half court and he drew up a little play for me to come off a screen and try to get a shot up. That is what I did. I don’t know, but it was really cool, really exciting.”
The Minnesota team bounced back in overtime, however, for a 62-59 victory. Sundell finished third on her team with eight points.
The smooth shooting for Sundell carried into the team’s next game with Canada Elite. Sundell scored a game-high 19 points including a three off another inbounds play with just over a minute left to help seal a 47-42 win.
“My shot was really on,” Sundell said. “One of the games early on in the Hoosier Heat tournament, (Gilyard) pulled me out in like the first 30 seconds because I didn’t shoot it when I’m open. That was the focus I had going into the Under Armor tournament — just always looking for my opportunities.”
The Kansas City squad dropped its next two games to finish the tournament with a 65-52 loss to the Michigan Storm where Sundell had a team-high 10 points and a 60-35 loss to the Wisconsin Flight where the starters played limited minutes.
“Our next tournament, we will definitely need to finish stronger,” Sundell said.
The excitement for Sundell continued following the tournament when she was able to announce two more Division-I offers with Colorado State and Indiana State each offering the soon-to-be junior. Coaches can’t contact Sundell directly yet, so they contact either Gilyard or Maryville coach Quentin Albrecht to arrange for Sundell to call them.
“The last few days I’ve been making a lot of phone calls to coaches and it is really exciting to learn what everyone has and to learn more about every school,” Sundell said.
Sundell’s growing offer sheet now includes home-town Northwest Missouri State as well as Division-I programs Providence, North Dakota State, St. Louis, Colorado State and Indiana State.
The summer season wraps up for Run GMC with the PSB Summer Invitational in Cartersville, Georgia on Sunday and Monday before the UAA Championship running from Tuesday through Thursday in Atlanta.
“We are really excited,” Sundell said. “Every single team has the opportunity to take it all home. It will be intense. Every team will be fighting for the opportunity to play again.”