Eye on POY: Mississippi 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.

Victoria Vivians

Sophomore forward, Scott Central (Forest, MS)

2011-12 Team record: 26-7

2011-12 Team standing: Lost in Class 2A quarterfinals

2011-12 Points per game: 37

2011-12 Rebounds per game: 13.8

2011-12 Assists per game: 1.2

2011-12 Blocks per game: 1.1

2011-12 Steals per game: 3.6

Academics: B average

Collegiate destination: HS Sophomore

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Scored 1,221 points in 2012 alone; 2011 and 2012 Scott County Tournament MVP; 2011 First Team All-State; 2010 and 2011 First Team All-District

Tiaria Griffin

Senior point guard, Hattiesburg (MS)

2011-12 Team record: 20-2

2011-12 Team standing: Will play in Class 6A state final on March 3

2011-12 Points per game: 28

2011-12 Rebounds per game: 7

2011-12 Assists per game: 5

2011-12 Blocks per game: 0.5

2011-12 Steals per game: 4

Academics: A average

Collegiate destination: Georgia

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: 2011 First Team All-State; 2012 Hattiesburg Holiday Tournament MVP’ 2010 Wayne County Classic MVP; 2010 to 2012 First Team All-District

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.

Jerontay Clemons: Senior point guard, Coldwater (MS)

Rachel Hollivay: Senior forward, Heritage (Columbus, MS)

Samantha Clemts: Senior guard, Forest (MS)

Erika Sisk: Senior guard, Oxford (MS)

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.