Mara Freshour Redmond is regarded as the best girls basketball player in Brown County history, but her game was honed in the Columbus North High School auxiliary gym.
That’s where Freshour Redmond would shoot baskets for hours while her mom, Sandy Freshour, was coaching the North gymnastics team. Too tall to be a gymnast herself, Mara gravitated to the basketball court.
“I didn’t have the body for (gymnastics),” she said. “I was too tall from the start. When I was really little, I always had a ball in my hand.”
Freshour Redmond was back in that same gym Wednesday night to watch her mother’s gymnastics team beat Columbus East. Friday night, she was this year’s lone inductee into the Brown County Athletic Hall of Fame.
“It’s a neat thing to be a part of,” Freshour Redmond said. “It’s a select group of people, so I’m excited about it.”
With 1,340 points, Freshour Redmond is the Eagles’ all-time leading scorer and is the lone Brown County girl to be named an Indiana All-Star. She led the Eagles to their only two sectional titles in 2002 and 2005, the latter while playing through a torn ACL.
“She was a 6-1 guard, so anytime you have a guard that’s over 6-foot tall, you’re blessed,” Brown County coach Mike Harmon said.
“She was a very, very good ball-handler, not flashy, but very sound. She was very athletic. She could nearly dunk the ball. As she got into her junior and senior year, she was virtually unguardable because she could shoot the ball, she could flash to the basket and finish with a fingertip roll. She could gobble people up defensively.”
Freshour Redmond went on to play for four years at Florida State. She was drafted by the WNBA’s Seattle Storm but didn’t make the final cut and played in Finland for a year.
“After a year, I decided it was just lonely and kind of boring,” Freshour Redmond said.
So she came back to Columbus and worked with Dean Layman at Foundation for Youth in 2011. She was married Jan. 1, 2012, and 10 days later began working for Nike Elite Hoops Basketball in Charleston, S.C.
“I do a lot of scheduling and emails and mumbo-jumbo like that, but the main gig is coaching basketball,” Freshour Redmond said. “We do skill development — individual lessons, shooting clinics.”
Freshour Redmond’s degree from Florida State was in sports management, and she knew she wanted to stay around the game of basketball.
“This is my passion in life,” she said. “I absolutely knew it’s God’s gift to me, and this is what I’m good at. No way could I be a doctor or anything like that. I enjoy what I do a lot.”
While in high school, Freshour Redmond played three years of AAU basketball for current North girls coach Pat McKee.
“Before her injury, we called her ‘Air Mara,’ like ‘Air Jordan,’” McKee said. “She would make plays that very few girls could make. When college coaches came to see her play, every single one of them fell in love with the athleticism that she displayed. She could still be playing pro ball in Europe if that’s what she wanted to do. She’s that good.”
Her former coaches were impressed with her off the court as well.
“She’s a fabulous kid,” McKee said. “She’s a wonderful player and a wonderful person.”
“She was a great athlete, but she was even a greater person,” Harmon said. “A lot of times you have kids with a lot of talent, and they’re not quite as humble. She’s really bound by her faith. Her ethics, her morals, her values were top-notch. She’s the epitome of what you want any of your student-athletes to be like.”