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2021-22 GIRLS BASKETBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Cayla Cowart, West Forsyth
Cayla Cowart
West Forsyth senior Cayla Cowart is the Forsyth County News Girls Basketball Player of the Year after averaging 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and 2.8 steals. Photo by Derrick Richemond

By Derrick Richemond

Cayla Cowart is known as a strong and aggressive player for West Forsyth.

She uses height to her advantage by outrebounding her opponents and being able to read the court in ways that others can’t.

Her ability to be explosive on offense and still have the energy to lock down on the defensive end is a clear-cut reason why she is the Forsyth County News Player of the Year for the second straight season.

“It’s a really special award, and it's definitely honorable. It’s super cool to win twice,” Cowart said. 

Cowart helped guide the Wolverines to a 22-8 record and an appearance in the second round of Class 7A playoffs.

Cowart ended the season averaging 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and 2.8 steals. In her career, she scored 1,551 points, which puts her second in the school’s history behind Jenna Staiti. Additionally, she became the program’s all-time assist leader with 364. 

On top of that, Cowart earned second-team Class 7A girls all-state honors from the Georgia Basketball Coaches Association. 

“I think if you’re looking at my season from afar, you’d think I didn’t do as good as I did in my junior year based on points and stuff. I could've done more on the offensive end, but it wasn’t my priority,” Cowart said. “I honestly think I grew as a player this year in all aspects of my game, especially not being selfish as to contribute to everyone else's game.”

Cowart’s highlight of the season is when she went on a scoring rampage in a 63-43 win against Walton, dropping 34 points.

Cowart recently signed to continue her basketball career at the Tennessee Tech. Her ambition is to become well known for having a high assist rate and gathering a high number of rebounds.

“It's a different level of play over there, so obviously I’m not just going to come in and steal the show,” Cowart said. “I want to be the type of player that’s a team player who gets rowdy when someone else scores, even if you don’t have the best game, and be that player that sparks the team to keep going.

“Hailey Van Lith is one of my favorite college players right now, just how strong she plays,” Cowart said. “Even my Tennessee Tech coach texted me, ‘I want you to be like her coming in.’ She likes to get the rim just like I do.”

Cowart's dream has been to become a veterinarian, though she knows it would be difficult to balance that with playing Division I basketball. However, Cowart plans on staying as close to sports for as long as she can once her playing days are over.