Monday, March 11, 2019

Aaron Williams of Sabis International Charter School & Jaliena Sanchez of

Central High School Earn Top Honors



Springfield, Mass. – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today the recipients of the ninth annual Western Massachusetts Player of the Year awards – Aaron Williams of Sabis International Charter School and Jaliena Sanchez of Central High School. The awards are presented annually at the Western Massachusetts Senior High School All-Star Games which will be held Friday, March 22nd on the Jerry Colangelo Court of Dreams at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. 

“Our annual Western Mass All-Star Games are a fantastic community event where we have the opportunity to celebrate the outstanding student-athletes in our community,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “Aaron and Jaliena are very deserving of their Player of the Year honors and we know they will make Western Mass proud as they continue their basketball and academic journeys.”

The ninth annual boys’ basketball Player of the Year Award will be presented to Aaron Williams, a senior from Sabis International Charter School. Williams has led the Sabis Bulldogs to an impressive 16-4 regular season record and the #1 seed in the Western Mass. playoffs. A two-time first team All-Western Mass selection in his sophomore and junior years, Williams has averaged 22 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game this season. One of his most impressive performances took place at Hoophall Classic, where he scored 34 points and grabbed 21 rebounds in a gutsy win over Chicopee. He then proceeded to score his 1,000th point on February 1. In addition to being a standout on the basketball court, he currently holds a 3.2 GPA. Williams plans to continue his athletic playing career at a 4-year college, but is undecided on a school at this time. 

The ninth annual girls’ basketball Player of the Year Award will be presented to Jaliena Sanchez, a senior from Central High School. Sanchez is a very smart, quick and effective point guard with great court vision and decision-making ability. This season, she has averaged 17.4 points, 5.3 assists, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.1 steals per game. In her career, she has tallied over 1,400 points, 350 assists and 250 steals. The Golden Eagles have had great success with Sanchez as their floor general, winning a state championship in 2017 and state championship runner-up in 2018. Sanchez has a 3.42 GPA and has accepted a basketball scholarship at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah where she plans to study business and sports management.  

Tickets for the All-Star games will be available at the Basketball Hall of Fame box office the night of the games, Friday, March 22nd, and will be good for all three games that evening. The first game tips-off at 5:30 p.m. featuring the Division III and IV boys, the second game at 7 p.m. showcases the top girls in Western Massachusetts and the final game of the evening will be the Division I & II boys at 8:30 p.m.


About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame:

Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was born, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting, preserving and celebrating the game of basketball at every level – men and women, amateur and professional players, coaches and contributors, both domestically and internationally. The Hall of Fame museum is home to more than 400 inductees and over 40,000 square feet of basketball history. Nearly 200,000 people visit the Hall of Fame museum each year to learn about the game, experience the interactive exhibits and test their skills on the Jerry Colangelo "Court of Dreams." Best known for its annual marquee Enshrinement Ceremony honoring the game’s elite, the Hall of Fame also operates over 70 high school and collegiate competitions annually throughout the country and abroad. For more information on the Basketball Hall of Fame organization, its museum and events, visit, follow @hoophall or call 1-877-4HOOPLA.