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Washington County celebrates hometown hero, Olympic gold medalist Allisha Gray

The former GHSA state champion, NCAA champion and WNBA Rookie of The Year added an Olympic gold medal to her resume last summer in Tokyo.

SANDERSVILLE, Ga. — A day eight months in the making finally came full circle on Saturday, as Washington County welcomed back one of its own, now as a gold medalist.

“Don't let this be the last time we do this in Sandersville because guess what? You can be next,” said Washington County head girls basketball coach Sug Parker.

The coach's words resonated with just about everyone.

Allisha Gray is a former NCAA national champion, WNBA Rookie of the Year, and an Olympic gold medalist. Gray helped win gold for Team USA in the 3x3 basketball event last summer in Tokyo.

But as Saturday's homecoming showed, maybe most important of all, she’s a Washington County Golden Hawk.

“Being able to put on for a small town of Sandersville, Washington County, it's a great feeling,” Gray said. “The support, I feel all the support and how proud they are of me.”

The 2011 Class AA state champ finally had the chance to celebrate a bit bigger sort of title eight months later at home with all of her biggest fans.

“Being able to see my family and friends, but most importantly my family,” Gray said. “And then people that support me that have known me from when I was a little kid running around, and to see the adult that I grew into now I mean it's great. So it's just a feeling of home.”

And it's family that'll always be at the top of Allisha's list, because behind every story of success is an equally important story of sacrifice.

“Two hour drives up and down from Atlanta when gas was probably the price it is now,” Gray said.

It's those younger days in Washington County that she still thinks about now. Because while Saturday was certainly about celebrating Allisha Gray, it was equally a celebration for who she's now become for everyone else.

“I mean it's great, I try to be a positive role model,” Gray said. “Being from a small town, I feel like I'm a great example of you can make it out, make it to the big stage, and achieve and follow the dreams of what you want to accomplish in life. Just because you're in a small town, doesn't mean you can't have big town dreams.”

During the celebrations, the city of Sandersville presented Gray with a proclamation, officially naming March 19, 2022 “Allisha Gray Day.” Her #15 jersey was officially retired by the Washington County Golden Hawks.

Gray will next return to Texas to continue preparations for the 2022 WNBA season with the Dallas Wings. Dallas opens its schedule with a game against the Atlanta Dream on May 7.

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