NASHVILLE-All Chadarryl Clay wanted to do was go celebrate with her team. Standing next to the two other finalists for the TSSAA's Division II-AA Miss Basketball award moments after GPS's state championship victory, Clay wasn't so much concerned with the individual award as she was soaking up the excitement of what her team had accomplished.
But when her name was called as the award winner, Clay had more hardware to carry back to Chattanooga.
The junior point guard is the Bruisers' first Miss Basketball since Alana Smith in 2000.
"I wasn't even thinking about winning it at first," said Clay, whose 12 points, six rebounds, five steals and four assists Saturday helped the Bruisers win the state title. "I was just thinking about getting back with my teammates and enjoying the win. But when they called my name, it was the best feeling in the world.
"It's an honor just to be a finalist, but to win it, wow."
The other two finalists were St. Benedict's Symone Daniels and Brentwood Academy's Taylor Reece.
Clay is ranked the nation's ninth-best point guard by ESPN and averages 15.6 points and six assists per game. She already has surpassed 1,000 points for her career and has scholarship offers from Auburn, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Alabama-Birmingham and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, among others.
"She's put so much time into her game," GPS coach Susan Crownover said. "She may not always be the flashiest player on the court, but she's a complete player. I think they got this one right."