WORCESTER – Worcester Academy junior Aliyah Boston’s season to remember – so far in her career, anyway – was topped off earlier this week when she was notified that she had again been selected as the Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year for Massachusetts.
The 6-foot-4 Boston, who helped lead the Hilltoppers to a 23-1 season and the New England Prep School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) Class AA tournament championship, also won the award last year.
This season the 16-year-old Boston averaged 24.1 points, 14 rebounds, 6 blocks, 2 steals and 2.5 assists per game, and hit 66 percent of her field goals attempts, including 44 percent from beyond the three-point arc.
“It’s just a remarkable achievement,” Worcester Academy coach Sherry Levin said of Boston’s winning back-to-back Gatorade POY awards. “The challenge this year for Aliyah – and we talked about it after she received the award last year as a sophomore – was that she would have to work even harder going forward. I think that will be true again this year.”
With Boston leading the way, the Hilltoppers are 42-4 the last two seasons.
“I think the award is validation of her hard work as well as the support of her teammates and the Worcester Academy community. It is truly gratifying to have her receive this award again this year. She, and we, got everybody’s best shot. Aliyah was, I believe, truly deserving of this award.”
Boston recorded 23 double-doubles (double figures in points and rebounds) this past season and four of those games were triple-doubles.
In the second game of the year, in a 72-46 win over St. George’s on Dec. 6, Boston scored 33 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked 11 shots. The next time out, Dec. 10 against Deerfield (a 69-46 win), Boston’s stat line featured 24 points, 20 rebounds and 11 blocked shots.
On Jan 20, in a 58-54 win over Nobles – the eventual NEPSAC Class A champion – Boston poured in 28 points, pulled down 14 rebounds and recorded 11 blocks. On the last day of January, in a 61-35 win over Suffield, Boston scored 11 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked 11 shots in limited playing time.
Boston managed to record such an impressive array of statistics despite almost always being double-teamed defensively by her opponents and often being triple team once she received the ball in the post.
“When your efforts are validated and you win these honors everybody knows how good you are,” Levin said. “There are no surprises.”
As a result of winning the Gatorade POY award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, Boston is now a finalist for the Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year award.
As a Gatorade Player of the Year, Boston will be able to select a national or local youth sports organization to receive a grant as part of the Gatorade Play It Forward program.
Boston, who is a native of the Virgin Islands and currently lives with her aunt in Worcester, has volunteered with hurricane relief efforts in her hometown of St. Thomas. In addition she has donated her time locally as a student ambassador at Worcester Academy and as a youth basketball coach.
Every Gatorade Player of the Year state winner receives a $1,000 grant to donate and will have the opportunity to enter for an additional $10,000 spotlight grant by writing a brief essay explaining why their selected organization deserves additional support. 12 spotlight grants – one for each sport – will be announced throughout the year.
In May, Boston will again travel to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., and tryout for a spot on the 17-and-Under U.S. National Team. When she was 14 Boston was one of the final two players to be eliminated from consideration for the team.
Last offseason, as a member of the USA Basketball Under-16 Women’s National Team, Boston was the tournament MVP as the U.S. won a gold medal at the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Argentina.
Boston is currently ranked nationally by several publications as a top three recruit in the Class of 2019.