It seems Providence Day senior Erin Whalen is always striving to improve when she steps onto a basketball court, her coach says.
A 6-foot-1 forward, Whalen worked tirelessly on her game last summer, launching more than 50,000 shots, Chargers coach Josh Springer said.
Last season she averaged 17.6 points and 5.6 rebounds as Providence Day (27-2) won its seventh straight NCISAA 3A state title.
Whalen, the All-Observer girls’ basketball player of the year, was also named North Carolina’s Gatorade Player of the Year and is the Observer’s N.C. Ms. Basketball, which recognizes the state’s top player.
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She signed a scholarship to play next season at Vanderbilt.
“I don’t think Erin (Whalen) is ever going to be satisfied with where she is as a player,” Springer said. “She gets irritated with players who don’t want to work hard and just want to show up for the (games). She’s an old-school player who likes to work on her game all of the time.”
▪ Springer is the All-Observer girls’ coach of the year after leading the Chargers to their 11th state title in 12 seasons.
The Chargers, who were No. 15 is USA Today’s final national rankings, have won 95 straight CISAA conference games.
“We work very hard to keep the championship tradition at Providence Day and have been blessed to have so many great players and coaches in this program,” Springer said.
▪ Ms. Basketball in South Carolina is Columbia Dreher’s Jhileiya Dunlap, who was S.C. Gatorade Player of the Year. Dunlap, a 6-2 senior forward, signed with North Carolina. She averaged 20.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.6 steals, 3.1 blocks and 2.9 assists in leading Dreher (27-1) to its third state title in five years.
2015-16 All-Observer girls’ basketball team
Janelle Bailey, Providence Day, 6-4, Jr., C: Three-time all-state center averaged 16.8 points and 8.8 rebounds. Bailey, ranked in top 75 by national recruiting services, has multiple Division I offers.
Maya Caldwell, Davidson Day, 6-0, Jr., G: Three-time all-state selection. Averaged 18 points, six rebounds, five assists as Patriots finished runner-up for NCISAA 2A title. ACC/SEC recruit.
Erin Whalen, Providence Day, 6-1, Sr., F: N.C. Gatorade Player of the Year. Twice all-state. Averaged 17.6 points, 5.6 rebounds. Ranked No. 45 prospect in country by ESPN. Signed with Vanderbilt.
Ra’Shika White, Berry, 6-4, Sr., F: Averaged 26 points, 13 rebounds, four blocks and was SoMeck8 conference and District 9’s player of the year. Signed with Elon.
Zaria Wright, Concord First Assembly, 5-8 Jr., G: Named all-state three times. Last season led Observer area in scoring at 26.1 points, eclipsing 40 points twice, including a season-high 45 in win against Northside Christian.
Observer Girls’ Player of the Year: Erin Whalen, Providence Day
Observer Coach of the Year: Josh Springer, Providence Day
Eleah Parker, Northside Christian, 6-4, Jr., F; Kerstie Phills, Charlotte Christian, 5-10, Sr., G; Chanin Scott, Myers Park, 5-11, Sr., G; Ahlana Smith, Vance, 5-9, So., G; Chantel Williams, Mallard Creek, 5-9, Sr., G
Kayla Brown, Mallard Creek, 5-6, Jr., G; Mahaley Holit, Central Cabarrus, 5-6, Jr., G; Dazia Lawrence, Vance, 5-8, Fr., G; Evonna McGill, Ashbrook, 6-2, So., C; Chase Muhammad, Ardrey Kell, 5-8, Sr., G
RiKoya Anderson, Rock Hill, 5-10, So., F; Destiny Johnson, East Lincoln, 5-7, So., G; Remi Roberts, Weddington, 6-1, Jr., F; Kennedy Boyd, Providence Day, 5-6, So., G; Gabby Smith, Hickory Ridge, 5-10, So., F
All Charlotte Observer Honorable Mention
Sarah Billiard, Covenant Day, 6-0, Jr., F; Amanda Cherry, Sun Valley, 5-9, So., G; A’Lea Gilbert, South Mecklenburg, 5-11, So., F; Shareka McNeill, Harding, 5-6, Jr., G; Jasmine Sanders, Garinger, 6-1, Jr., G; Fairen Sutton, Butler 5-4, Sr., G; Parker Tompkins, Davidson Day, 6-1, Jr., C; Jasmine Sanders, Garinger, 6-1, Jr., G; Claudia Dickey, Charlotte Latin, 5-10, So., G; Carrie Eberle, Charlotte Catholic, 6-1, Sr., F; Ali Fitch, South Mecklenburg, 5-4, Sr., G’ McKenna Haire, Myers Park 5-10, Jr., G; Shameka McNeill, Harding, 5-5, Jr., G
Note: Teams were selected by Observer correspondent Jay Edwards. Players were nominated by their coaches. ...The All-Observer boys’ team will appear online Saturday and in Sunday’s print editions