Dan Young presents Detroit Edison High School basketball player Gabby Elliott with the Miss Basketball award. The Detroit News
Detroit — It might not be the trophy that Gabby Elliott wanted to lift this month at Breslin Center in East Lansing, but Elliott couldn’t stop smiling Friday afternoon after being honored as the winner of the Miss Basketball award during a ceremony at Detroit Edison High School.
Elliott became the second Edison player in as many years to earn the title of Miss Basketball — a first in the 39-year history of the award — joining Rickea Jackson, who started as a freshman for No. 9 Mississippi State this winter.
Elliott, a 5-foot-10 guard/forward, displayed the ability to handle the ball in transition, defend, rebound and hit the perimeter shot. She will play her college ball at Clemson.
Elliott, the younger sister of Marquette player Greg Elliott, averaged nearly 23 points a game, along with nine rebounds, four assists and 2.5 steals for Edison, which was 22-0 and ranked No. 1 by The News in the Super 20 poll.
Elliott and Edison were going after a piece of history this season, trying to become the first girls basketball team to win four straight championships since Flint Northern (1978-81).
Edison was scheduled to play Flat Rock for a Division 2 regional title at Carleton Airport Thursday before the game and season was suspended by the MHSAA due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Elliott found out she was Miss Basketball Sunday after practice when head coach Monique Brown took her into her office and called Elliott’s parents and told them of the news.
On Thursday, Elliott was then told, along with her teammates, that Edison’s regional final game was called off, but since Elliott was sworn to secrecy of her news on winning Miss Basketball, Friday’s ceremony was a reason for celebration.
So, how has Elliott handled the roller coaster of emotions?
“Of course I’m happy to have gotten this award, it’s a great honor, but it's senior year and I do want to finish out the season and to know that it possibly won’t happen, that there’s a chance that it won’t, it’s crazy, it’s kind of heartbreaking, but something like this is sure to get my mind off of it,” said Elliott who won Miss Basketball by a close margin, receiving 3,891 points in voting by Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan (BCAM) members with Aaliyah Nye of East Lansing finishing second at 3,367 and Whitney Sollom of Hartland, third at 3,335 with votes awarded on a 5-3-1 basis.
“We haven’t gotten past it because there’s eight of us seniors and we wanted to close our year out with a bang, to finish our legacy, so we haven’t gotten over it yet, but it’s something like this that’s a distraction for us. This will build my legacy, something like this has never been done back-to-back same school.”
The state title game has been Elliott’s personal playground in past years, a reason BCAM members picked her to win the award.
Elliott had 20 points and five rebounds in a 51-34 Class C title game win over Ypsilanti Arbor Prep at Calvin College in 2018, then contributed 15 points and six rebounds in a 77-58 Division 2 championship game win over Freeland at the same site last season.
Elliott has helped Edison to a 94-7 record during her career, 49-1 the last two seasons with its lone loss coming to Columbus Africentric last year, a loss it avenged this season.
When Jackson was named Miss Basketball last year, Brown told Elliott that could be her next year, and she’s probably telling junior point guard Damiya Hagemann the same thing.
“Coach Brown came up to me and said, ‘That could be you next year,’ and it was just a great feeling to have to know that I could be and to actually be here today is crazy,” Elliott said.
Hagemann is expected to be a frontrunner for next year’s Miss Basketball award, along with Detroit Renaissance point guard Kailee Davis and 6-3 Adrian Lenawee Christian guard Breanne Salenbien.
Brown was thrilled for Gabby, saying: “They call her a silent assassin, she’s not going to ruffle anybody’s feathers, she’s just going to come in and work. She’s always been one of the hardest workers we’ve ever had here, always just a true winner who does whatever it takes to win. It’s like, ‘This game we need you to rebound, don’t worry about scoring.’ She’s played injured and to see her get this for all the work she’s put in is an awesome feeling.”
Of the season coming to a crashing halt, Brown said: “It’s crazy because we were getting geared up ready to play the regional championship yesterday, 22-0 with a chance to win our fourth championship, and to get the news that we won’t be able to play … We were good with no fans, as long as we were playing, and then to get that was a very sad day for us, but today to see her get this award relieves us because we still have some history.”