Allaira Jones believes one person made the difference.
In a poll with more than 3,900 votes cast, the Freddy’s-KDHpressbox.com Player of the Week award was decided by a mere 1.2 percentage points.
Although the difference translates to just 47 votes, Jones is certain one single fan is the determining factor in her receiving the accolade.
“My mom was really supporting me a lot in this,” the Gatesville junior forward said. “She spent a lot of time voting and getting other people to vote.
“She did everything possible to get me ahead and make sure I won.”
With her mother serving as campaign manager, Jones received 1,878 votes for 47.9 percent of the poll to narrowly edge out Shoemaker senior Javon Levi for the award.
While Jones’ mom receives special credit, she is grateful to Gatesville as a whole, which has produced consecutive winners after Hornets senior post Wacey Bowland received the honor last week.
“We’ve had a guy win it,” Jones said, “and now, we’ve had a girl win it.
“This community is just awesome.”
Jones led No. 8 Gatesville (26-1, 6-0 District 17-4A) to a pair of victories last week, producing 25 points, eight rebounds and four steals in a 42-27 win at Waco Connally before following the performance with a 20-point, 11-rebound double-double in a 56-13 victory at Hillsboro.
“Those were a couple of my best games,” Jones said, “because we had just come off the break, and I was ready and energized.”
The same could be said for Levi, a guard, who scored 18 points in a 63-44 win against Copperas Cove.
Rounding out the nominees were Killeen’s Jaida Burkes and Jaelyn Williams and Salado’s Costas Loullis.
Burkes, a junior, connected on a late 3-pointer to help the Lady Kangaroos upset then-Class 6A No. 16 Waco Midway 38-37 before posting a team-high 13 points in a 44-27 win against San Angelo Central.
For the Kangaroos, Williams, a senior forward, scored a team-high 19 points, including five 3-pointers, as Killeen beat the Bobcats 54-49 on the road, and Eagles soccer standout Loullis scored five goals to lead Salado to the championship game in its home tournament.
Upon seeing her competition, Jones knew it would be difficult to emerge with the award.
“I felt like I was a bit of the underdog,” she said, “especially going up against a senior guy because this is his last season to win it, while I’ll have more opportunities.”
Nevertheless, Jones is relishing her accomplishment.
“I am so excited and happy I won,” she said. “I have such a strong support system, and I just feel a bunch of love and unity from the community and everyone who supported me.”