For the second year in a row, Konawaena’s Cherilyn Molina has been named Gatorade Hawaii Girls Basketball Player of the Year. This is the 33rd year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes for Gatorade, which made the announcement on Monday.
“I feel blessed that I would receive this honor again,” Molina said. “Last year when I was named I was surprised, but this year I actually worked for it. Hard work is what has gotten me to where I am now.”
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Molina as Hawaii’s best high school girls basketball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year award, which will be announced in March, Molina joins an elite alumni association of past award-winners including Maya Moore, Candace Parker and Lisa Leslie 1988-89.
The 5-foot-6 senior guard led Konawaena to a 26-2 record and their fourth consecutive Division I championship this past season. The state’s returning Gatorade Player of the Year, Molina averaged 16.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 3.5 steals and one block per game. She was also named the BIIF Division I Player of the Year for the second year in a row and is rated as the nation’s No. 28 point guard in the Class of 2018 by espnW.
“She is a very good athlete and brought leadership to the team this year. She held everyone accountable,” said Konawaena head coach Bobbie Awa. “She is mentally strong on the court as well. She is a competitor and won’t let anyone put her down. When players are trash talking, and the fans are into the game, she feeds off that. The turns up her game.”
Molina has volunteered locally as a youth basketball coach and has donated her time visiting elementary schools to help students with their reading and various academic projects.
Molina has maintained a weighted 3.57 GPA in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball at Washington State University beginning this fall.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track &field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport.
Konawaena’s Chanelle Molina and Dawnyelle Awa have also earned the honor. Chanelle Molina is a three-time recipient. Other Big Islander’s to receive the award include Aliyah Pana (Hilo High School) and Kanisha Bello (Waiakea High School).
The selection process is administered by the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.
As a Gatorade Player of the Year, Molina 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. 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.