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Basketball Hall of Fame Announces Western Mass. High School Players of the Year

1st annual award for boys and girls players of the year

March 21, 2011 - Springfield, MA – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts today announced the winners of the 1st annual Western Massachusetts Players of the Year presented by the Basketball Hall of Fame and MassLive.com.  The players of the year will be an annual award presented at the Western Massachusetts Senior High School All-Star Games held annually at the Basketball Hall of Fame’s Center Court following the state finals in March. 

“The Hall of Fame is pleased to recognize each of these deserving individuals,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “The Hall of Fame celebrates excellence at all levels of the game and having a local award for high school players in Western Massachusetts is a natural extension to our awards program.”

"Supporting high school sports is an important part of MassLive's commitment to our local community and we're excited to partner with the Basketball Hall of Fame on this new award," said MassLive.com Editor-in-Chief Ed Kubosiak Jr.

The 1st annual boys’ basketball player of the year award goes to Alex Garstka from Westfield High School.  Alex guided Westfield High School to the Western Massachusetts Championship game before falling to Northampton.  He averaged just under 20 points per game for Westfield this year and accumulated 1,172 points for his career.  For his efforts, Alex is the 2nd all-time leading scorer in Westfield High School history and was a key contributor in the success of the Westfield program for the past three years.

The 1st annual girls’ basketball player of the year goes to Monique Heard from Holyoke High School.  Monique, currently a junior, led Holyoke High School to the Western Massachusetts Semifinal round before falling to Amherst.  She recorded her 1,000th career point in the final regular season game this year against Northampton – a game in which she scored 41 total points, including seven three-point shots.  Monique is the only Holyoke High School girl in school history to reach her 1,000th career point in three years and is within range of breaking the all-time Holyoke High School scoring record next season.

"Monique and Alex embody a commitment to excellence that provides a blueprint for other student athletes across Western Mass. to emulate,” Kubosiak said.

The award winners were selected by a group of local media members and will be presented at a special presentation as part of the senior high school All-Star games on Tuesday night, March 22nd.   Criteria for the awards include achievement on the court, sportsmanship and character off the court.