PAWTUCKET – She was the best player on the best team in R.I. high school girls basketball this past season.
Now, Amaya Dowdy can lay claim to the ultimate individual honor that compliments the state championship she was a part of during her senior season at St. Raphael.
An unstoppable force, Dowdy was rewarded for her talents on and off the court by being tabbed the 2020-21 Gatorade Rhode Island Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year, the announcement made Thursday. A Woonsocket native who’ll be adding more chapters to her basketball adventures upon joining the women’s program at UMass Lowell, Dowdy helped the Saints achieve a perfect record (11-0) while averaging 18.8 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.5 blocks, 2.7 steals, and 2.5 assists per game.
“I’ve been dreaming about this since middle school … get Gatorade Player of the Year during my high school career,” said Dowdy when reached Thursday. “I’m happy to get this honor during one of the toughest years to play high school sports. Every day, you didn’t know if you were going to play or not. Not only did we have the opportunity, but we played well as a team.”
Dowdy is the first SRA girls basketball player to win the Gatorade honor since Jackie Fournier in 1999-00 and the 18th St. Raphael athlete to be recognized as a Gatorade standout.
The six-foot Dowdy saved her best for last as she netted 20 points and pulled down 17 rebounds in St. Raphael’s 43-38 overtime win over Barrington in the state finals. Fittingly, Dowdy came down with the final rebound as the horn sounded at Rhode Island College on March 7.
“We won the championship and I got the [Gatorade] award, but we all persevered. Without my teammates, I couldn’t have gotten this award,” said Dowdy.
A two-time recipient of the Call/Times All-Area Girls Basketball Most Valuable Player honor, Dowdy came to St. Raphael known strictly as a low-post threat. The improvements she was able to make in her outside shot – one that now extends to the three-point line – meant that teams could no longer concentrate on keeping her out of the paint.
“Amaya is an amazing player,” said Barrington head coach Steve Lenz, his words accompanying the Gatorade press release. “She possesses incredible athleticism at both ends of the floor. Her versatility on offense makes her a match-up nightmare for most teams.”
Away from the court, Dowdy is a member of the St. Raphael Leadership Through Athletics Committee. An A student in the classroom, she also volunteers as part of multiple community service initiatives through her church. Earlier this month, Dowdy earned her second high school championship as SRA repeated as D-III champs in girls’ volleyball.
“You knew she was skilled when she came in. What was special for me as a coach was to see how she evolved as a total player,” said St. Raphael head coach Tammy Drape. “She has the drive to get better. She also knows that there’s still more work to be done, but that’s why she never takes anything for granted. She’s never been complacent and that’s always impressed me.”
Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03