TAMPA — This basketball season was memorable, to say the least, for Berkeley Prep senior Justin Gray.
The 6-foot-5 standout was named MVP of the prestigious Kingdom of the Sun after helping the Buccaneers become the first team in Hillsborough County history to win the national tournament. He led his team to the state final four, played in the state senior all-star game and the Team USA vs. Florida Classic.
What transpired Thursday added to the exciting journey.
Inside the Hillsborough County School District auditorium, Gray was awarded the Alston “Mac” McGahagin Boys Basketball Award, given to the top senior in the county. Gray, who will play at Texas Tech in the fall, was unaware of the award until county athletic director Lanness Robinson began listing his career accomplishments.
“To be recognized for what I do on and off the court is a blessing,” said Gray, who finished his prep career with 1,758 points, along with four district titles. “To have all this stuff happen to me so fast, it really is amazing and I’m really happy and I can enjoy it with my family and friends.”
Aliyah Gregory, a senior at Strawberry Crest, received the equivalent of Gray’s award, taking home the Dottie McGahagin Girls Basketball Award. Gregory led the Chargers to their first district title last season while leading the county with 622 points.
“When I came in, we were just a team that when people stepped on the court, they’d say, ‘We’ll blow them out.’ And slowly, over time, with the help of my teammates and coaches, we’ve set a standard when teams know if they play Strawberry Crest, it’s going to be a battle.”
Gregory, who will play for Central Florida, amassed 2,025 career points, a goal she set before the season to raise money for domestic violence.
Through her “Assist and Score” campaign, Gregory raised $1,600 for local organizations by accepting donations for each point she scored. She created the campaign after a close family was a victim of domestic violence.
Other individual award winners included King cheerleader Michelle Skelton receiving the Williamson-Snapp Outstanding Cheerleader Award, Brandon wrestler James Flint being named Outstanding Wrestler of the Year, and Riverview wrestling/tennis coach William Sargable receiving the Joel Medgebow Award.
Plant nearly swept the school district’s winter sports academic team awards, owning the highest team grade-point averages in boys and girls soccer and boys and girls basketball.
Brandon had the highest wrestling team GPA, while Alonso’s had the highest cheer team GPA.