FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASECHICAGO (March 8, 2012) —
Contact: Ashley Ginascol (312-729-3622)
In its 27th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPNHS, today announced Allisha Gray
of Washington County (Sandersville, Ga.)
as its 2011-12 Gatorade Georgia Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Gray is the first Gatorade Georgia Girls Basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from Washington County High School.
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes Gray as Georgia's best high school girls basketball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year award announced in March, Gray joins an elite alumni association of past state girls basketball award-winners, including Candace Parker (2003-04, 2002-03, & 2001-02, Naperville Central HS, Ill.), Diana Taurasi (1998-99 & 1999-00, Don Antonio Lugo HS, Calif.), Maya Moore (2005-06 Collins Hill HS, Ga.), Rashanda McCants (2004-05, Asheville HS, N.C.), Shyra Ely (1999-00, Ben Davis HS, Ind.) and Lisa Leslie (1988-89, Morningside HS, Calif.).
The 6-foot junior wing led the Golden Hawks to a 30-0 record and 61 consecutive victories along with a berth in the Class AAA state semifinals against North Hall High, scheduled for March 9. Gray averaged 32.0 points, 8.2 rebounds, 5.0 steals, 3.4 assists and 2.4 blocks per game entering the postseason final four. The returning Class AAA Player of the Year as named by the Georgia Sportswriters Association, Gray shot 67.0 percent from the field, 37.2 percent from 3-point range (51-139) and 80.4 percent from the free throw line through 30 games. A First Team All-Tournament selection at this past summer's Nike Nationals, she carried Washington County to the 2010 Class AAA state championship as a sophomore.
Gray has maintained a 3.79 GPA in the classroom. A member of the Foreign Language Honor Society and Future Business Leaders of America, she has donated her time as a student ambassador and on behalf of the school's National Beta Club chapter.
"She has all the characteristics you are looking for in a high school athlete," said Bernard Bowman, head coach at Glenn Hills High. "She has excellent athletic skills, outstanding academics and very good character. She carries herself in a way that would make you proud just to know her. I have been blessed just to watch her play the past two seasons."
Gray will begin her senior year of high school this fall.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by ESPNHS and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.
Gray joins recent Gatorade Georgia Girls Basketball Players of the Year Diamond DeShields (2010-11, Norcross High School), Kayla Lewis (2009-10, Southwest DeKalb), Anne Marie Armstrong (2008-09, Wesleyan School), Alicia Manning (2007-08, Etowah), Maya Moore (2006 – 07, Collins Hill), and Natasha Humphrey (2003-04 & 2002-03, Gainesville) among the state's list of former award winners.
To keep up to date on the latest happenings, become a fan of Gatorade Player of the Year on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of past winners, and the announcement of the Gatorade National Player of the Year, visit playeroftheyear.gatorade.com.