Victoria Gaines learned through Twitter that she'd been named to the Junior All-Star team.
As happy as she was to see her name on the list, the second piece of information was coming.
"I was surprised to see I made the core team," Gaines said. "It was a shock. I'm very happy about it."
Gaines will be joined by Duneland Athletic Conference opponent Michal Miller from Michigan City when the juniors play the seniors in the north game. Miller, who averaged 20.5 points with 6.5 rebounds for the Wolves, was named to the north team.
"I'm really proud for the area to put two players on the team," Merrillville coach Amy Govert said. "I think that says a lot about how good the competition is up here."
Gaines, who committed to Michigan State before the season began, averaged 15.0 points with 8.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game this season.
Gaines is the first local player to join the core roster since 2011, when her cousin, Raveen Murray, was a member of the core team.
"I wanted to be on the team since my cousin made it," Gaines said. "When my junior year started, I said 'hey, I get to see if I'm a nominee.'"
Coaches for the junior team haven't yet been announced. The juniors will start their June games against the Kentucky Junior All-Stars on June 6 and 7. The juniors will then play the Indiana All-Stars on June 9 and 11 in sites in the northern and southern parts of the state.
Members of the core team will play in all four games, while north members will play twice, once against Kentucky and at the northern exhibition site.
In addition to knowing Miller, whom Gaines has played against seven times in the last three seasons, three of Gaines' AAU teammates are also on the Junior All-Star team.
"It really helped that (Gaines) plays AAU in Indy," Govert said, "because there were two local coaches on the selection committee, but she is seen all over the state."