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Last updated: April 18. 2013 11:56PM - 4430 Views
By JOHN MEDEIROS



CLARK VAN ORDEN/THE TIMES LEADERPittston Area's Mia Hopkins is The Times Leader's girls basketball Player of the Year.
CLARK VAN ORDEN/THE TIMES LEADERPittston Area's Mia Hopkins is The Times Leader's girls basketball Player of the Year.
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When you watch Mia Hopkins play basketball, you see a determination on her face. It's that look where you know she would succeed in anything she applied herself to.
In the sports world, that could have been golf or track or soccer. She could have made a name for herself on the diamond — and while her glove has been put away, she still keeps a mean scorebook for the Pittston Area baseball team.
But it's basketball where Hopkins has emerged as a star. After being named to the Class 3A All-State Second Team for a second consecutive season, Hopkins has been selected as The Times Leader Player of the Year.
“I used to golf with my Uncle Louis and my grandma at Emanon,” Hopkins said of one of her other many sporting pursuits. “When I was younger, I went up there every day. I still like playing now, but I never really wanted to do it as a career.”
She's been on the track team, played youth soccer and spent some time in Little League. But on the basketball court, Hopkins plays a game few others in the region can match. She averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds while leading Pittston Area to a WVC-best 22 wins this season. The senior starts her workouts for Monmouth, her future college, next week. And the Hawks can't wait to have her.
“I heard Mia scored her 1,000th point as a junior, and averaged around 21 points and 17 rebounds,” Monmouth freshman guard Jasmine Walker said to The (Monmouth) Outlook in February while talking about incoming players who could help the program.
“They gave me an exact workout for the next five weeks,” Hopkins said. “I'll be lifting 4-5 days a week. I've been doing my own stuff at the gym to prepare for the regimen.”
For Hopkins, there will always be plenty of great memories from Pittston Area. This season, they included her 1,500th career point and 1,000th career rebound — both unprecedented marks in Patriots history.
She has also had a decorated career outside of high school play. Her skills have taken her to memorable stops in Washington, D.C., Virginia, and a team camp at the University of North Carolina.
“That's a big question,” Hopkins said when asked about her favorite trip. “I've been to a lot of places.”
She'll be going to many more places during her college career.
On her signing day, Hopkins was quick to thank family, everyone at Pittston Area, her AAU coach and all of her teammates. She found facing Isiah Walker's Crestwood teams during her high school career to be a unique experience.
“Our conference has a lot of good teams. Every game was a battle,” said Hopkins, who faced a lot of gadget defenses and gameplans focused on her. “But especially going against Crestwood, it's very hard when people know what you can do. I expected those games to be tough. Their head coach knows a little bit more about me because he's my AAU coach (with Firm AC). He's a smart coach, so when we played them I expected people to come at me from all directions.”
The only direction for Hopkins now is forward. Pittston Area girls basketball's first Division I recruit is ready to make a name for herself at the next level.
“Before I made my decision, I was a bit nervous,” Hopkins said. “I was down to a couple of schools, but it all fell into place. I'm so happy with how it all worked out. It definitely made the season easier. My assistant (coach at Monmouth) came to one game and my head coach came to another. I didn't have to stress over it — I just got to go out and play because I was already going there.”

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