SANDERSVILLE, Ga. — Little girls want to watch her play. They want to wear their hair in a ponytail, just like her.
They want to be like Allisha Gray.
The Washington County girls basketball player is just a junior but is already a part of school history, leading the Lady Hawks to a Class AAA state title last season and a runner-up finish this year. Gray averaged nearly 30 points, eight rebounds, five steals, three assists and more than two blocks per game this season. She is The Augusta Chronicle’s Georgia girls basketball player of the year.
“She’s become a major part of Washington County,” Lady Hawks coach Sug Parker said. “I want her to continue to transform into the best player she can be. That’s it. Her work ethic is there, she’s working on plenty of things. To be the first WNBA player that comes from Washington County, that’s the hope.”
The Lady Hawks won 63 in a row before losing to Columbia in the state final, which concluded a run that featured region crowns and many blowouts.
Though her unselfish play opened room for Shon Kitchens and Tierra Murray, Gray was always the opponents’ focus.
Gray and Washington County were often at peak form when the press overwhelmed foes.
“I can depend on my teammates," Gray said. “But I still have to play a key role. Just because they focus on me doesn’t mean I can just lay back. I still got to play, too.”
Teams tried the box-and-1 and the triangle-and-2 to slow her down. But Gray still reached 1,000 points for the season and was named the Gatorade Georgia Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
Her gaudy numbers and team-first approach have led to a flood of offers from some of the best college programs. The list includes Baylor, Duke, Georgia, Louisiana State, Maryland, South Carolina, Stanford and Tennessee.
Gray is going to take her time picking a school, and with one season still to go with the Lady Hawks, she’s ready to go for another state championship.
“She has become that role model,” Parker said. “She has kids, when we go to Ridge Road Elementary School, that want to see Allisha play. It makes a big difference.”