Rabun County junior guard Georgia Stockton had one heck of a year – reached 1,000 career points, committed to Presbyterian College and now wins the BLITZ Player of the Year award. Not to mention a 24-win season that culminated in a third straight Elite 8 run. What does that mean for next year?
Stockton often carried her team on and off the floor this season as the young group dealt with adversity in the way of injuries to key players, falling to a three-seed for the state tournament (meaning likely all road games), and getting every team’s best shot every night after a Class 2A Runner-Up finish a year ago.
The Lady Cats survived some bruises and pulled off yet another fantastic season, going 24-7. Since Stockton has been at Rabun County, the program has gone 78-14 with a region title (2016-17), a state championship game appearance (2016-17) and an Elite 8 run in both 2015-16 and 2017-18.
Stockton put up some solid numbers this season, earning her the award. She averaged 22.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.9 steals per game, shooting over 40% from the floor, 41.3% from beyond the arc and 80.3% from the charity stripe.
Our panel of 15 voters, made up of media reporters/broadcasters, former BLITZ players, former coaches and a couple of fans, submitted their Heisman-style ballots for the seven finalists for the award:
HISTORY OF BASKETBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Stockton becomes the first-ever Rabun player to win the award despite some greats before her (Savannah Scott, Riley Chlupacek, etc.). Stockton has a chance to win back-to-back for the second time ever, as Habersham’s Lainey Gosnell did it in 2015-16 & 2016-17.
2017-18 – Georgia Stockton – Rabun Co JR G #20
2016-17 – Lainey Gosnell – Habersham Central SR F #30
2015-16 – Karlie Bearden – Dawson Co SR G #15 & Lainey Gosnell – Habersham JR F #30
2014-15 – Kaitlyn Duncan – Banks Co SR C #13
2013-14 – Sheyenne Seabolt – Dawson Co JR F #42
2012-13 – Carly Gilreath – Dawson Co SR G #24 & Stephanie Patton – Towns Co SO G #5
2011-12 – Haley Gerrin – Habersham Central JR C #32
2010-11 – Gabby Arencibia – Towns Co JR G #4
2009-10 – Cara Malone – Lumpkin Co SR G #5
LOOKING AHEAD – THE NEXT FAVORITE(S)
This seven-woman class of finalists was great. Of those, Dasha Cannon is here to stay for awhile, as she’s only a freshman. Stockton will be the front-runner going into her senior year, as well as Nyah Williams, Kaylee Sticker, Jaycie Bowen and McKenzie Pulley, who will all be seniors. Allison Smith was the only senior finalist. So it’s a similar look next season, plus some other nominees that almost made the cut this year.