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CHICAGO (WHNT) – A Hazel Green basketball player was awarded the Alabama Girls Basketball Gatorade Player of the Year award on Wednesday.

Senior guard, Samiya Steele, is the first person to win this award for Hazel Green High School.

The award recognizes outstanding athletic excellence, high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court. This distinguishes Steele as Alabama’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. Steele joins an elite alumni association of state award winners in 12 sports.

The 5-foot-8 guard led the Trojans to a 34-0 record and a fifth-straight Class 6A state championship. She is a two-time First Team All-State selection and was the MVP of the 2021 state championship game.

Steele has volunteered locally with ProjectXYZ, a technical solutions company in Huntsville. She has also donated her time to the Future Career & Community Leaders of America.

In November, Steele signed a national letter of intent to play basketball on scholarship at Alabama State University this fall.

Steele joins recent Gatorade Alabama Girls Basketball Players of the Year Sara Puckett (2020-21, Muscle Shoals High School), Sarah Ashlee Barker (2019-20, Spain Park High School), Annie Hughes (2018-19, Pisgah High School), and Zipporah Broughton (2017-18, Lee High School), among the state’s list of former award winners.

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.

To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program or to nominate an athlete, visit the Player of the Year website.