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Richards senior Georgia Danos said one of the people who was the most encouraging to her while she was rehabbing from ACL surgery last season was two-time South Suburban Red Player of the Year Brianna LeBeau.
“She told me just to keep my head up and that she knew I’d come back strong,” Danos said in November.
LeBeau’s intuition proved correct.
Danos had such a strong comeback that she joined LeBeau as a South Suburban Red Player of the Year.
“I don’t have words to describe how happy I am,” Danos said. “I’m very honored that (the coaches) chose me. It means a lot to me that they think that highly of me.”
Danos, who averaged 17.7 points per game, will continue her career at Eastern Illinois University.
Her junior season lasted all of four minutes. Having already scored eight points in the Bulldogs’ opener, Danos tore the ACL in her right knee. Rehab lasted well into the following summer.
“A lot of hard work went into her rehab hours,” Bulldogs coach Jeff Kortz said. “This is a reflection of her hard work and dedication.
“Georgia was a leader on and off the floor. All of the kids looked up to her. She was on the National Honor Society, a good student. And on the floor, she got us into all of our sets. And she wasn’t one-dimensional. She rebounded, she passed, she got us into all of our sets. She should have a good career at Eastern.”
In the South Suburban Blue, Diamond Beatty, of Tinley Park, was chosen the division’s Player of the Year.
Beatty, who is undecided on her college choice, averaged 18.9 points, 3.8 steals and made 58 three-pointers for the Titans, who finished 21-9 overall and 11-2 in South Suburban Conference games.
Among Beatty’s top efforts was a 40-point night in a victory over Lincoln-Way West.
“Real exciting,” Tinley Park coach Jason Becker said. “I think she represented the conference really well and represented Tinley Park High School very well. She was a standout kid in the classroom and obviously on the court.
“Every night she gave our team a chance to win. Every night we walked on the floor our kids had confidence that with Diamond out there we could come out on the right end."