CAMBEWARRA'S Asha Phillips created her own slice of history at the annual Illawarra Academy of Sports presentation night on Friday, by becoming the first ever basketballer to take out the prestigious Tobin Family Athlete of the Year Award.
In doing so, the Nowra High School student also became the first ever Shoalhaven athlete to take out the award, during its 17-year existence.
"I was very surprised to win the award, as there were many other athletes in the mix who had achieved success at high levels in their chosen sport," Phillips said.
"I'm proud of where I come from and it's very special for me [to win the award], as there's been a lot of talented athletes that have come from the Shoalhaven."
During her exceptional year on the hardwood, Phillips starred for her NSW Country team at the under 16s national championships at Darwin - averaging 7.22 points, 4.11 rebounds, 2.22 assists and 1.33 steals per contest and helping her team finish sixth.
"I have achieved many of the goals I set out for myself at the beginning of the year," she said.
"I have worked hard at training and put a lot of effort into becoming a better player, which has led me to making higher-level teams.
"I would like to thank my coaches who have helped me to have this opportunity."
The Tobin Family Award, which Gerroa's Sally Fitzgibbons is a previous winner, is given to the academy athlete who, during the course of their scholarship, displays an exceptional level of sports performance, a commendable attitude to competition, persistent dedication to learning and strong community focus.
"This award means so much as it is a very special award and I'm very grateful to have won it," the 15-year-old said.
"The history behind this award, with many big athletes winning it before me and seeing now what they have achieved after receiving it, is amazing."
During her 2019 campaign, Phillips' Illawarra Hawks under 16s team also competed at the NSW country championships and state titles.
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"My season starts again in two weeks with trials for State Performance Program (SPP) and Australian Junior Country Basketball Cup in Albury, which leads into the under 18s NSW Country team," she said.
"This will be followed by more trials for the Illawarra Hawks and D-League commitments."
Cambewarra's Sophie Phillips was also recognised on the night, taking out the IAS Female Australian Football of the Year Award.