The honors keep piling up for Rock Island’s Brea Beal.
But this time she may have topped being named first-team all-state by the Associated Press and Illinois Basketball Coaches Association after this past season. On Monday, Gatorade announced that Beal, a sophomore, was named Gatorade’s 2016-2017 Illinois Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
Beal joins Naperville Central and University of Tennessee grad Candace Parker — also a two-time WNBA MVP — as the only sophomores to earn the Illinois honor.
Beal averaged 20.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.2 steals and 3.1 assists in 33 games for the 31-2 Rocks, whose season ended in a Class 4A sectional final at the hands of eventual runner-up Edwardsville. She is currently listed as the No. 2 recruit in the Class of 2019, according to Blue Star Basketball Report.
The Gatorade award encompasses not just athletic prowess but classroom and extra-curricular work as well.
“It means a lot because of how young I am,” Beal said. “There’s a lot more older girls in Illinois that are good, like seniors and upperclassmen, and I figured that they would want to give it to them. So me getting that thrills me a lot.”
Beal has a 3.45 grade point average.
“I feel like if I wasn’t taking school seriously and putting as much work there as I do in the gym, then I wouldn’t have really a chance to get this award,” she added.
It was also noted in the Gatorade release that she has volunteered and spoken to elementary-age children on making good choices and working toward goals while also serving as a youth basketball coach.