Eye on POY: Massachusetts girls basketball

The window on the Gatorade State Girls Basketball Player of the Year race is closing, and the search for elite student-athletes is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.

Nicole Boudreau

Senior guard, Andover (Mass.)

2011-12 Team record: 22-0 (Division I)

2011-12 Team standing: Division 1 North sectional final on Friday

2011-12 Points per game: 22.3

2011-12 Rebounds per game: 8.6

2011-12 Assists per game: 5.1

2011-12 Blocks per game: 2.6

2011-12 Steals per game: 6.0

Academics: A average

Collegiate destination: Boston College

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Entered the state tournament with 2,079 career points, the 60th Massachusetts player (boys and girls) to reach 2,000 points. 2010-11 Gatorade Massachusetts Girls Basketball Player of the Year. 2011 ESPN Boston Miss Basketball. 2011 Boston Globe All-Scholastic. 2011 Boston Herald All-Scholastic.

Lexi Sells

Senior guard, Bishop Feehan (Attleboro, Mass.)

2011-12 Team record: 14-7 (Division II)

2011-12 Team standing: Lost Division II South sectional first round to Natick, 62-58

2011-12 Points per game: 16.4

Academics: A-minus average

Collegiate destination: Providence College

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Concluded her prep basketball career with 1,297 points in 89 games, a career scoring average of 14.6 points per game. Totaled 12 points and nine rebounds as Bishop Feehan lost to Natick (Mass.) in the first round of the Division II south sectional tournament. Boston Herald Division II Player of the Year. McDonald’s All-American Game nominee. No. 83 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNHS HoopGurlz. Averaged 19.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 4.0 steals per game as a junior.

Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Girls Basketball Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are some more of many who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2011-12 campaign.

Candace Andrews: Junior guard, Worcester Academy (Mass.)

Elizabeth Belanger: Senior guard, Acton-Boxboro (Acton, Mass.)

Kara Charette: Senior forward, Fairhaven (Mass.)

Tayra Melendez: Senior guard, Rivers School (Weston, Mass.)

Lauren Taiclet: Senior forward, Noble and Greenough School (Dedham, Mass.)

Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Player of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.