High School Sports

Providence Day’s Erin Whalen is NC Gatorade girls’ basketball player of the year

Providence Day’s Erin Whalen, left, is the 2015-16 N.C. Gatorade girls basketball player of the year
Providence Day’s Erin Whalen, left, is the 2015-16 N.C. Gatorade girls basketball player of the year Mike McCarn

Providence Day girls’ basketball team regularly wins state championships. The Chargers have won seven straight and 11 of the past 12.

The school also produces its share of N.C. Gatorade players of the year.

Chargers senior Erin Whalen, who signed with Vanderbilt, won the award Thursday. She is the fifth player from Providence Day honored by Gatorade as the top girls’ high school player in North Carolina.

The award recognizes athletic excellence and “high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court.”

At Providence Day, Whalen follows Jatarie White (2012-13 and 2013-14), Tiffany Mitchell (2011-12), Natasha Brackett (2000-01) and Konecka Drakeford (1990-91 and 1992-93) as Gatorade players of the year.

Whalen, a 6-foot-1 senior forward, was also Charlotte Independent Schools Athletic Association Player of the Year. She led the Chargers to a 27-2 record and averaged 18.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.5 assists.

Whalen, twice named to the N.C. Independent Schools all-state team, shot 55.5 percent from the field, 49.2 percent on 3-pointers and 89.9 percent from the free-throw line.

Whalen has a 3.87 grade-point average. In addition to donating her time as a youth basketball instructor and mentoring younger players in Providence Day’s K-12 program, she has helped organize efforts to create and deliver “blessing bags” during the holiday for Charlotte-area homeless.

“Clearly, Erin’s athletic accomplishments speak for themselves,” said Jessica Kulp, head coach at rival Cannon School. “She is a tremendous athlete and competitor.

“In the two years that I have coached against Erin, I have always seen her behave graciously with a genuine respect for her coach, teammates, officials, opponents, and the game itself. Erin appears to be a player who leads quietly and by example.”

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