Program’s leading scorer to be presented with Tigers’ jersey

For four seasons, Ava Hawthorne was a walking, talking highlight reel on the court for the Gilbert girls’ basketball team. On Monday, everyone who watched her shine will get the chance to applaud her career one more time inside the Gilbert High School gymnasium.

Hawthorne, a 2022 GHS graduate and current sophomore at Drake University in Des Moines, will be honored at halftime of the boys’ game against Nevada Monday evening. She’ll be presented with the white No. 10 jersey she wore while setting so many records over her four-year varsity career.

“I am so proud of her accomplishments and proud of her ability to play Division I basketball at Drake,” Gilbert head girls’ basketball coach Mike Frisk said of Hawthorne. “I am lucky to have had the opportunity to coach her … Ava will be successful in anything she chooses in life because of her competitive nature and her ability to work as a team.”

The 5-foot-9 guard holds 13 career, single-season, and single-game 5-player school records, including the most prestigious of them all — career points. She poured in 1,409 points in 86 career games, an average of 16.4 per outing. She surpassed the previous record of 1,379 points, set by Tina Zitterich in 1997, with a 30-point effort in a 78-27 rout of Storm Lake on Feb. 6, 2022.

Hawthorne’s other program records include:

•Career steals (278).
•Career assists (333).
•Career 3-point field goals (168).
•Single-season steals (93 in 2021-22).
•Single-season free throw percentage (84.5 in 2020-21).
•Single-season 3-point field goals (60 in 2018-19).
•Single-season free throw attempts (158 in 2021-22).
•Single-season free throws made (131 in 2021-22).
•Single-game steals (9 in 2021-22).
•Single-game assists (10 in 2021-22).
•Single-game field goal percentage (94.7 — 16 of 17 from the field — 2021-22).
•Single-game free throws made (16 in 2021-22).

And, oh by the way, she also ranks fifth on the program’s all-time rebounds leaderboard (485). Not bad for a guard.

As a sophomore during the 2019-20 season, Hawthorne led the Tigers to the Class 4A state tournament and put on a show-stopping performance in an 89-75 Class 4A quarterfinal-round loss to Glenwood. She erupted for a game-high and still 4A single-game state tournament record 31 points to go along with six rebounds, six steals, and five assists. Hawthorne’s one-game performance landed her a spot on the all-tournament team.

Gilbert won better than 71 percent of its games and averaged 16 wins per season with Hawthorne in uniform.

Now a guard with the Drake women’s basketball team, Hawthorne has seen action in all 16 of the Bulldogs’ games so far this season.


Drake University photo by Luke Lu
Gilbert photos by Debbie Gray and Troy Banning