The last time GPS had a Miss Basketball finalist the Bruisers won a state championship. That was 11 years ago and Wednesday junior guard Chadarryl Clay was named one of three finalists for the Division II-AA award.
"Hopefully things will work out like the last time our school had a finalist," said GPS coach Susan Crownover, whose team is 21-1 heading into the state tournament. "We'd love for her to win it and to win the whole thing as a team like they did back then.
"It speaks for how hard she works. To get that kind of recognition, she has worked really hard individually and has a good team around her to help make her look good. She's always had amazing talent to understand the game and make passes. Now she has become more of a complete player, on defense and shooting. If she's having an off night shooting it, rather than forcing it, she has a great ability to find somebody who is scoring for us. She'll do whatever to make sure we win."
McMinn Central 6-foot-1 senior post Jenna Adams was the only other area player to be named a finalist for the TSSAA's state player of the year award, which will be announced during the state tournament. Adams, a finalist in Class AA, is a Lee University signee who averages 19 points, 10.5 rebounds for the top-ranked Chargerettes (28-1). She has helped McMinn Central to a 126-8 overall record in her four years and is also the first finalist at her school since 2000.
"If they give it to the best player, Jenna will win it," Chargerettes coach Johnny Morgan said. "She's not just a post player. When teams press us, she handles the ball and can is also a good defender. She's just a complete player."
Clay is ranked the nation's No. 51 overall prospect and the 9th-best point guard by ESPN. The three-year starter averages 15 points, six assists per game and already has offers from Auburn, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Alabama-Birmingham and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...