For once in her life, Erin Boley turned out to be thankful for poor cell phone reception. Unable to take a congratulatory call from three-time WNBA champion Maya Moore after earning All-American honors last week, Boley got a second bite at the apple when the league MVP showed up at the Elizabethtown High (Elizabethtown, Ky.) front office and handed her the 2015-16 Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year trophy.
PHOTOS: Boley Gatorade POY presentation
MORE: Erin Boley Q&A
“I’m really shocked and I don’t know how to tell you what was going through my head when Maya Moore walked in,” said Boley, 18, a Notre Dame signee. “This is a huge honor and I can’t get my head around it. There are so many really talented players in this year’s senior class. This isn’t something you think you’re going to win.”
The 6-foot-2 senior wing led the Panthers to a 30-5 record and the state postseason tournament quarterfinals. Boley averaged 24.2 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.7 steals and 2.7 assists per game. A 2016 McDonald’s All-American, Boley is rated the nation’s No. 5 recruit in the Class of 2016 by espnW. She concluded her prep basketball career with 3,325 points, good for seventh on the state’s all-time list. She also corralled 1,431 career rebounds.
“To hand Erin this trophy as one athlete to another is special and something we’ll always share,” said Moore, 26, Gatorade’s 2006-07 national winner, whose Minnesota Lynx will try to repeat as champions this fall en route to a fourth WNBA title in seven years. “Having an alum of the national award present it to the future allows everyone to appreciate the continuum. This is a really meaningful time for Erin and it truly brings me back to my Gatorade experience in high school.”
A three-time Gatorade Kentucky Player of the Year and on of five Naismith Award finalists nationwide, Boley shot almost 65 percent from inside the arc, nearly 50 percent from 3-point range and over 85 percent from the free throw line as a senior. She recorded a double-double in two of every three games this past season and Elizabethtown was 143-27 (.841) in her five years as a starter. The MVP of last summer’s Nike Midwest Showdown and the second-leading scorer in the elite AAU Nike EYBL, Boley earned a silver medal at the 2015 FIBA 3-on-3 U-18 World Championships. She was also named MVP of the 2015 USA Basketball U18 3×3 National Team Tournament.
“Erin Boley is the consummate student-athlete,” said Dan Olson, director of espnW Hoopgurlz and owner of the Collegiate Girls Basketball Report. “Cementing herself among the great players in the history of Kentucky girls basketball, she’s a superb forward with a consistent offensive skill set. She is fundamental, competes at both ends of the floor and is very unselfish. I only see her flourishing as she moves forward in her career at Notre Dame.”
The Gatorade Player of the Year award recognizes outstanding athletic excellence as well as high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court. Boley is now a finalist for the Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year award. USA TODAY High School Sports administrates the nationwide selection process in collaboration with Gatorade.
Boley has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom and ranks No. 1 in her class. The vice president of the Elizabethtown High School senior class and a four-year class officer, she is a member of her school’s Spanish Club, Beta Club, Pep Club, Art Club and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. A devoted member of the St. Ann’s Catholic Church community, where she is a member of the youth group and serves as a lector, Boley has volunteered locally at the Warm Blessings Soup Kitchen.
The founder of an after school art program for at-risk students, she has also donated her time to providing after school care at Morningside Elementary School and as a Lady Panther Little League basketball coach and instructor. Boley blogs for WiseEYEsports.com as well.
Boley becomes the 5th athlete from Kentucky to earn national Gatorade honors in any sport, and the third in girls basketball. She joins distinguished past winners like former NFL No. 1 draft pick Tim Couch (Leslie County, Hyden), who won in 1995-96, as well as volleyball setter Alexa Filley (Assumption, Louisville), who won in 2013-14 and set a University of Louisville single-season assists record as a sophomore last season.
With 65, California has produced the most national Gatorade winners across the program’s 12 sports. Texas (30), Florida (21), Illinois (15) and Indiana (13) round out the top five.