Dimond 6-foot forward averages 25 points and 14 rebounds and is nearly stoppable when she gets the ball in the low post, where she uses a dominating 1-2 punch of force and finesse / Photo credit Scott F. Minor
Former Gatorade Alaska POY Kelsey Griffin is playing in Australia.
It used to be the Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year was awarded to a senior, sometimes a junior.
But never a sophomore.
Then came along Ruthy Hebard and Alissa Pili.
They were too good to ignore.
For the second time in four years, a second sophomore has won the Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year award after Hebard did it in 2014 and Pili again in 2017.
Hebard – now a freshman starter with the University of Oregon – went on to win the Gatorade honor three straight years for West Valley.
Could Alaska be in store for a Pili three-peat?
Nothing in life is guaranteed, but the 6-foot Dimond forward looks like a safe bet.
She’s averaging 25.1 points, 14.1 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 1.7 blocked shots per game for the 27-2 Lynx, who are one of the favorites at next week’s ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Class 4A Basketball State Championships in Anchorage.
Pili is nearly stoppable when she gets the ball in the low post, where she uses a dominating 1-2 punch of force and finesse.
She’s also improved other aspects of her game, like 3-point shooting and ballhandling in transition.
At 15, she’s arguably more polished than any great Alaska player at that age.
Gatorade Alaska Players of the Year
2017 Alissa Pili, Dimond
2016 Ruthy Hebard, West Valley
2015 Ruthy Hebard, West Valley
2014 Ruthy Hebard, West Valley
2013 Alysha Devine, Wasilla
2012 Hannah Mattson, West Valley
2011 Keiahnna Engel, Dimond
2010 Keiahnna Engel, Dimond
2009 Jenna Johnson, Wasilla
2008 Sylvia Bullock, South
2007 Talisa Rhea, Juneau-Douglas
2006 Lillian Bullock, Service
2005 Kelsey Griffin, Chugiak
2004 Chandice Cronk, Wasilla
2003 Ashley Mickens, East
2002 Tenecia Macon, East
2001 Azella Perryman, East
2000 Jessica Moore, Colony
1999 Jessica Moore, Colony
1998 Laura Ingham, East
1997 Laura Ingham, East
1996 Meghann Gleason, Juneau-Douglas
1995 Bev Krupa, West Valley
1994 Brit Jacobson, Chugiak
1993 Molly Tuter, Soldotna
1992 Molly Tuter, Soldotna
1991 Jody Hensen, Homer
1990 Karri Brown, Chugiak
1989 Monique Alex, East
1988 Jeannie Hebert, Monroe Catholic
1987 Sherrie Barlow, Kenai
1986 Dawn Schoenborn, East
Gatorade Alaska Notes
Van Williams is a freelance writer in Anchorage and a correspondent for the Alaska School Activities Association.
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