FLORENCE, S.C. — Loyal McQueen proved to be that once-in-a-generation player who could not only elevate her play, but her team’s.
While on her way to a career at Wilson High School that totaled more than 2,000 points and garnered multiple honors such as Gatorade South Carolina Girls Basketball Player of the Year, McQueen’s honors are not done yet.
For the second consecutive season, she is the Morning News Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year after a campaign during which she averaged 26.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.2 steals.
“It’s been great. First, I want to thank God for blessing me with my talent,” McQueen said. “And then, I want to thank my family for sacrificing themselves for me to have these opportunities in sports.
“Then, I want to thank my teammates and my coaches,” she added. “If it wasn’t for them, this wouldn’t even be possible. And I also want to thank the community because this has been a great career for me. I’m just grateful.”
McQueen, also named the Coaches’ Class 4A Girls’ Player of the Year, helped lead Wilson to two state finals during her five-year career.
Count Tigers coach Jessica Gerald as one who will miss her as she plans to play basketball at Georgia Tech, which McQueen signed with in November.
“She’s got accolades that for a long time nobody else will pass,” Gerald said. “She’s one of a kind. She’s unique. Not only does she do that kind of stuff, she also works in church on Sundays, and she sings in the choir and works as an usher. Even right now, while we’re going through no school, she’s in her yard working on her game.”
McQueen just wishes she could leave with a state championship.
“That was my main go, to win state, I’d rather have gotten that than all of these individual awards,” McQueen said. “But I’m grateful for everything I’ve gotten so far.”
McQueen, who entered this past season after having already committed to play at Georgia Tech, talked about the pressure she dealt with from that.
“All the fans knew I was going to play at Georgia Tech, so they would want me to perform great,” McQueen said. “But you’ve got to settle down. If you give into the hype, you probably won’t’ be the best you can be. In that way, I think high school has prepared me for the next level. At Georgia Tech, every game is a big game. I’ll just have to go out every night and play the best I can.”