It’s been a storied year for the Westlake girls basketball team, and the awards and honors continue to pour in. Just last night, Westlake’s Coach Hilda Hankerson and celebrated point guard Raven “Hollywood” Johnson were announced as the USA Today Sports Awards Coach of the Year and Player of the Year.
The announcement was part of a star-studded virtual presentation streamed online. Announcers for the USA Today Sports Awards included Golden State Warriors MVP Stephen Curry, Kansas City Chief quarterback Patrick Mahomes and New England Patriots Coach Bill Bill Belichick.
Coach Hilda Hankerson has led the Westlake Lady Lions since 1997. She guided her team this year to a 72 to 53 win over Collins Hill to capture their third consecutive Class 7A state championship. Coach Hankerson has the distinct honor of being the winningest coach in Fulton County Schools history. Last year, she was presented plaques from the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association (GACA) for logging 600 wins as a coach, and for being named the 2019 Region Coach of the Year and State Coach of the Year by the GACA for the 7A division.
Johnson is the number two ranked point guard in the country. She has been an impact player since middle school, and a vital member of Westlake’s three-time championship-winning girls basketball team. During this year’s championship game, Johnson punctuated her stellar season with 23 points in the season finale win. Her performance earned her the AJC’s Miss Georgia Basketball State Player of the Year title.
Hankerson, Johnson and the entire Lady Lions team will be honored in a virtual rally hosted by the City of South Fulton on Thursday, June 25 at 6 p.m. Johnson is expected to announce her college commitment decision. Former Atlanta Hawks Coach Mike Goodson is expected to make an appearance and offer a congratulatory message.
The event will also pay special homage to the team’s trio of seniors. Lydia Freeman, center, will attend Georgia Southern University. Carly Hooks, shooting guard/point guard, will attend East Tennessee State University. Ryann Woodley, shooting guard, will attend Walters State Community College.
“We’re extremely proud of the Lady Lions for winning their third consecutive championship,” Mayor William “Bill” Edwards said. “It’s only right that we send the seniors off with one last pep rally to celebrate their success. COVID-19 will not stop us from honoring this astonishing feat.”
“We’re truly blessed to be state champions for the third consecutive year,” Hankerson said. “We’re appreciative of Mayor Edwards for taking the time to give the seniors one last pep rally, even during the pandemic. I look forward to the girls having a chance to be celebrated by the South Fulton community.”
Westlake is the eighth school in state history to win three consecutive girls basketball state championships. Last year, South Fulton celebrated the team’s second win with banners and an official proclamation in their honor.
Photo: Westlake’s Raven “Hollywood” Johnson, USA Today Sports Awards Player of the Year (Credit: Hoops by Stan/Twitter)