A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.
For her 50 fellow Gatorade State Girls Basketball Player of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Sarah Illingworth
School: Hartford (White River Junction, Vt.)
Athletic achievement: Illingworth led the Hurricanes to a 15-5 record and a berth in the Division 2 playoffs against Otter Valley Union (Brandon, Vt.), played Wednesday. She averaged 12.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game entering the postseason. Illingworth is a First Team All-Marble Valley honoree and a member of the Vermont Basketball Coaches Association Dream Dozen.
Academic excellence: Illingworth has maintained a 4.02 GPA in the classroom and represents one of the state’s top academic candidates in meeting the Gatorade Award’s broad criteria.
Exemplary character: She has volunteered locally on behalf of a community food shelf for the needy and youth basketball programs.
“Illingworth works really hard and she’s tough on the inside,” said Terry Merrow, head coach at Burr and Burton Academy (Manchester, Vt.). “She rebounds well, scores in the low post and can hit that little elbow shot too. She’s a real student of the game.”
THE FUTURE: Illingworth has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on an athletic scholarship at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell this fall.