Kayla McPherson, a sophomore at Madison County High School, was recently named the Gatorade girls’ basketball state player of the year. McPherson earned the award after scoring 64 points in one game and playing with a broken hand in two other games this season.
McPherson broke one of her metacarpal bones while diving for a loose ball at practice right before the playoffs started. At first, she thought the break was a jammed finger, but after playing in the first round of the playoffs, doctors told her she suffered a clean break in her right hand.
“I went to the doctor after the first state game with my dad,” McPherson said. “They were like, ‘yeah, your hand is broken’, but I couldn’t just not play.”
McPherson went on to play in the second round of the playoffs where her team’s season ended. However, the broken hand did not stop her. She scored 37 points in the two playoff games, where she played through the injury.
Instead of using the injury as an excuse, the right-handed shooter said she is using it as motivation to improve dribbling and shooting with her left hand.
McPherson averaged 23.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 3.5 steals per game this season. Her contributions led the Lady Red Raiders to a 25-3 record, and their first region championship since 2013.
“Having a Kayla-type player bleeds off on others,” Madison County girls basketball coach Dan Lampe said. “She makes a move and other people see it, and they start working on that move. It kind of bleeds down to the rest of the program.”
McPherson is the first player from Madison County to win the Gatorade Player of the Year award, and it was not the only award she earned this season. She was also named the region 8-4A player of the year, as well as the 4A state player of the year. However, she still has bigger goals in mind.
“I want to win a state championship,” McPherson said. “That’s what I’ve dreamed about since I was a kid, winning a state championship in high school.”
Luke Gamble is a senior in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.