Mimi Gray, a four-year for the Sterlington Lady Panthers, will attend Baton Rouge Community College on a basketball scholarship.


Sterlington guard Mimi Gray is taking her game to the next level. Accompanied by family and friends, Gray signed a letter-of-intent to attend Baton Rouge Community College during a Friday morning ceremony in the school library.


A four-year starter for the Lady Panthers, Gray averaged 14.5 rebounds, 7.8 points and 3 assists en route to leading the Lady Panthers to a 24-9 record and earning first-team All-District 2-2A honors.


Gray saved two of her best games for the postseason, including an 18-point effort in a 46-42 victory over Pickering as the Lady Panthers notched their first playoff win since 2012. She finished her career with a 27-point effort in a 67-59 second-round loss to No. 1 seed Rapides.


Gray chose BRCC over Copiah-Lincoln (Miss.) and Neosho (Kansas) community colleges.


"Basically when I went on my visit, (BRCC) felt like home," Gray said. "It's an amazing place, and I felt comfortable there."
Gray isn't the member of the Sterlington athletics fraternity headed to BRCC. Derrick Williams, an assistant coach to Cory Emerson for Sterlington's boys team, has accepted a position on coach Paula Lee's staff at BRCC. Earlier this year, Sterlington center fielder Sydnee Davis signed to play softball for the Lady Bears.


Williams' addition to the staff was a bonus for Gray.


"Having coach Williams down there is going to be a big help. I didn't know he was going there until after I committed," Gray said. "Basically, without coach Williams, I wouldn't be here. He worked with me over the offseason to get me where I want to be."


Gray was hoping — but not expecting — to sign a scholarship.


"This is something I have always wanted to do," Gray said. "All three of my brothers wanted to play college basketball and never got the opportunity. I'm blessed to be able to break the chain. People told me that I would have the opportunity down the road, but I never really thought I would."


Though Gray was surprised when the offers started coming in, her coach wasn't.


"Sterlington High has had a good one. Mimi should be proud of her school, and her school should be proud of her, too," Sterlington coach Mike Crumpler said. "(BRCC) is going to be a good fit for her."


While excited to be moving into a new chapter of her life, there was a touch of sadness as Gray reflected on her high school days.


"I'm going to miss the town and my family," Gray said. "I'm going to miss having everybody in town coming to my games to support me."


Gray's presence with the Lady Panthers is already being missed.


"Losing Mimi leaves a big void for us," Crumpler said. "She always gave her all, and we'll miss that about her. Then there's the experience factor. Working out in P.E., Kaela (Mullins) is here to kind of take charge, but there's no Mimi. You recognize that she's not there."


Gray says her No. 1 objective over the summer is to improve her shooting touch.


"My strength is I'm a dribble/drive guard, and I can usually get to the paint. If I can't score, I can usually draw a foul and get to the free throw line," Gray said. "My weakness is I need to work on my jump shot and my shooting."


When it came to choosing a major, Gray says it was an easy decision.


"I'm going to major in psychology," Gray said. "I feel like I can read people's minds really well, and I like to help people."