North Summit senior Kennady McQueen’s season ended in a somewhat bittersweet fashion.

Her Braves team made it to the 2A girls’ basketball championship game against Millard, but they lost a heartbreaker in triple overtime. But not long before that game, McQueen had committed and subsequently signed to play basketball at the University of Utah, where she had dreamed of playing since she was young.

So when she won the Gatorade Utah Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year award, there were still hints of bittersweet feelings. She was proud for winning the award, but couldn’t help admitting that a state championship would have capped off her high school career.

The 5-foot-10 senior said the Gatorade award could be considered a consolation prize. But at the same time, it doesn’t hold a candle to that state title.

“If I had to choose, I don’t know which one I’d choose because I really, really wanted a state championship before I left,” McQueen said. “That one’s hard. I want both.”

McQueen said winning the individual award was an example that someone from a small area can still gain national attention if they work at their craft. McQueen is from Henefer, which had a population of 766 people as of the 2010 census.

And McQueen’s school, North Summit, is in 2A. It’s not every year a player from a school in the smaller classifications wins a Gatorade award. She’s the first girls’ basketball player in school history to win the award.

So when McQueen was awoken by her brother writing “She did it!” in the family group text, a “relaxing feeling” came over her.

“It proved that hard work pays off and that no matter where you’re from or what people have said, you can still accomplish your dreams and goals,” McQueen said.

McQueen is looking to forward to playing college basketball for the Utes. She’s most excited about honing her game and becoming the best player she can be.

In addition, McQueen is itching to be around the basketball minds on the team.

“I can’t wait to learn from people that know the game inside and out,” McQueen said.