From many, there will be one. And while there’s still no guarantee contending athletes will win their own state at this point in the season, a number of elite performers are making a case for Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year consideration. Here’s the scoop on the latest top candidate.
Senior guard, Manasquan (N.J.)
Greatness Present: Marina’s older sister, Michaela Mabrey, casts a considerable shadow as a starting guard on national power Notre Dame, a member of USA Basketball’s 2012 Women’s U18 National Team, a former McDonald’s and WBCA All-American and, of course, the 2011-12 Gatorade New Jersey Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
Marina, however, hasn’t let that shadow keep her in the shade, not even a bit.
Earlier this month, Marina netted 21 points in a 67-15 rout of Raritan, lifting her career total to 2,014 points and joining Michaela as the first pair of New Jersey sisters to each break the 2,000-point barrier.
Ranked as the No. 8 recruit in the Class of 2015 by Blue Star Basketball, Mabrey has scored 20 points or better in every game for the Big Blue (14-1) this season. Manasquan’s 5-foot-11 senior guard has averaged a career-high 26.5 points to go along with 6.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.1 blocks per contest this winter.
The Mabrey sisters led Manasquan to the Tournament of Champions title in 2012, when Marina was just a freshman and her older sibling a senior. Marina transferred to Point Pleasant Beach as a sophomore, but returned to Manasquan for her junior season and again reached the TOC Finals, falling to nationally ranked Newark Shabazz.
Perhaps the state title is a two-Mabrey task—good news for the Big Blue. Their second-leading scorer this year is freshman Dara Mabrey, who now has two giant shadows of her own to contend with.
Greatness Past: A two-time First Team All-State selection and the 2013 and 2014 Asbury Park Press Player of the Year, Marina Mabrey played this past August for the Women’s U18 National Team that finished 5-0 during a gold-medal run at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship. She averaged 7.8 points per game and had the second-best assist-to-turnover ratio (3.6-1) in the tournament.
Greatness Future: Mabrey will follow her sister Michaela to Notre Dame this fall.
Make no mistake: The Gatorade State Girls Basketball Player of the Year races aren’t over, and the National POY race is now heating up. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Check back for daily updates on the top contenders making their case.