St. Frances defeats McDonogh to win the IAAM A Conference high school girls basketball campionship. (Katherine Dunn, Baltimore Sun video)
St. Frances junior guard Nia Clouden has been named the Gatorade Maryland Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
Probably best know this season for hitting a game-winning jump shot in overtime to beat National Christian Academy, Clouden averaged 12.8 points and four assists for the No. 1 Panthers, who finished 30-0 with the IAAM A Conference championship and the Bishop Walsh Girls Invitational Tournament championship.
She scored 15 points in the 56-47 A Conference title game victory over McDonogh, including her 1,000th career point. In the second quarter of that game, she scored 12 points to give the Panthers their first lead of the game and start them rolling toward the title.
Clouden scored 14 points in the 75-74 win over National Christian which gave the Panthers their first undefeated regular season.
An All-Metro first team selection last season, Clouden is being heavily recruited by Division I programs. Blue Star Basketball Report ranks her the No. 60 player nationally in this year's junior class.
The Gatorade state player of the year award weighs academics and character. Clouden has a 3.31 GPA. She is a peer mentor, coaches youth basketball and helps take care of her diabetic grandmother by checking her blood sugar and giving her insulin every day.
She is the third Baltimore-area player to win the Gatorade state player of the year award in 11 years. Annapolis Area Christian's Taylor Murray (2015) and Towson Catholic's Marah Strickland (2007) also won.