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CLAYTON COUNTY GIRLS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Ashlee Cole

Photo by Jerry Jackson
Ashlee Cole of Forest Park averaged 17.5 points to help the Lady Panthers reached the Class AAAA quarterfinals.

Photo by Jerry Jackson Ashlee Cole of Forest Park averaged 17.5 points to help the Lady Panthers reached the Class AAAA quarterfinals.

Question: What was your season’s biggest highlight?

Answer: “With such a young team, and all the injuries, I would say making it to the Elite Eight was great. Having fun with my teammates on and off the court was also great for my senior season. Being able to step up in that McIntosh playoff game and helping my team win was great.”

Q: How did you improve your game this season?

A: “Coming into the season, I felt that I was in better shape. I worked really hard in the offseason to get ready for this season. From a physical standpoint, I think everything went really great for me.”

Q: What was your biggest challenge?

A: “Getting over the hump to get far in the playoffs because of all the injuries. I thought I had to step up on both ends of the court to help us win. We had some younger players come on strong after we had a lot of injuries on the team.”

Vitals: Averaged a team-leading 17.5 points per game and four assists. She also averaged five rebounds and three steals for the Lady Panthers. Finished the season with 526 points.

Why Cole: The senior has always been counted on to play multi-positions for the Lady Panthers throughout her four-year career. With season-ending injuries to two starters, Cole’s role expanded even more for the team. The High Point signee was the go-to person for much of her career at Forest Park.

Coach Steven Cole on Cole: “Most coaches only get to coach a few great players in their career. Ashlee was one of those great players. She is a once in a lifetime type of player. The beauty for me is that I get to spend the rest of my life with her. I’m just blown away by that.”

Others considered: Jonesboro’s Kimberly Dawkins, Mundy’s Mill Brianna McQueen and Drew’s Precious Person.

Where are they now: Last year’s winner was Cole, who averaged 18 points for the Lady Panthers as they advanced to the Class AAAA championship game.