Wilkinson is Player of the Year

Published 1:00 pm Saturday, April 9, 2022

Angel “Cookie” Wilkinson, Brookhaven High

The elite can take over a basketball game and use their effort and energy to change the course of a team’s fate. They can get into a zone where the rim looks so big and the defense looks so slow as the game slows down for them like Neo in The Matrix.

They don’t stand out by wearing the coolest sleeves or wristbands or shoes — their game does the talking.

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Brookhaven High junior guard Angel “Cookie” Wilkinson is that type of player — the one that everybody comes to watch.

A 5-foot-6 junior that plays shooting guard, Wilkinson averaged 18.1 points per game for a BHS team that was among the four best in MHSAA girls’ basketball this season. For her outstanding play, Wilkinson has been named The Daily Leader All-Area Most Valuable Player for 2022.

Wilkinson added 4.8 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 2.1 assists per game for coach Preston Wilson and an Ole Brook club that finished 24-6 on the season.

Wilson has seen his leading scorer grow as a player and person after joining the varsity during her freshman season. She was a Daily Leader All-Area selection last season as a sophomore.

“She’s matured and grown up and I think she did a lot of that during last season for us,” said Wilson. “When she was younger, she could defer to those older players, but now she’s the one that everyone is trying to stop. She’s a person that believes she can do anything with the ball in her hands — doesn’t think anything can stop her.”

Wilkinson made everyone in the Mississippi Coliseum think she was capable of just about anything humanly possible during the season finale for BHS against Columbus High.

The Lady Panthers trailed all game in the MHSAA 5A semifinals as a taller team from Columbus made shots and harassed the Panthers into a rough showing through three quarters.

Columbus led by 19-points with two minutes remaining in the third quarter. From there on out, the rest of the game was “The Cookie Show.”

Wilkinson scored 19 points in the fourth quarter and finished with 29 points in the game as her team clawed their way back in an eventual 43-40 defeat.

The physicality with which she plays the game, the speed that she uses to push the pace and the sustained effort from whistle to whistle — Wilkinson is a perfect example of what BHS girls’ basketball has become under Wilson’s watch.

“My hope is that she keeps working and realizes that she can keep improving,” said Wilson. “We’re going to be counting on her more than ever next season as a leader and I know she’s not satisfied with how the season ended for us against Columbus.”