Fowler’s Mia Riley wins AP Division 4 Player of Year award

April 19, 2021 GMT

Mia Riley felt like there was plenty to prove.

After COVID-19 limited her opportunities last summer to catch the eyes of college coaches on the AAU circuit, Riley was focused on making the most of her opportunities on the court for the Fowler girls basketball team.

The junior did just that.

Riley showcased her versatile skills to college coaches while helping Fowler break through for its first state championship since 1991. And, she leads The Associated Press Division 4 All-State team as the Player of the Year.

Riley averaged 14.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.6 steals and 2.7 assists while leading the way for Fowler, which won all its postseason games by double figures en route to its second state championship in program history.


“This year I really needed to prove that I was worth watching,” said Riley, who was also a first-team All-State player last year. ”(I knew) if I could catch (a college coaches’) eye, I needed to just hold it. (I wanted to prove) I was worth being the girl to watch and I could be an asset to their team, and I could be an asset to their entire program.”

Years ago, it was clear to Fowler coach Nathan Goerge that Riley would be a major asset for his program. He remembers Riley impressing many witnesses at youth camps with her dribbling capabilities and other strong basketball skills.

Goerge then saw her talent up close when Riley made a mark as a freshman while helping the Eagles reach the state semifinals in 2019.

“Early on, we knew from talking to her parents and talking to her brother that she was one of those players that was consumed with basketball and wanted to get better and wanted to play it constantly,” said Goerge, who is the Division 4 Coach of the Year. “From fourth and fifth grade on, we knew that she was a workaholic and basketball was her love.

“It was evident early on that she would really lead us to big things.”

Fowler accomplished big things last season while finishing 16-4. The Eagles hope more big things are in store with Riley and several other key players slated to return.

“I think this (state title) will motivate her even more to get better because she knows people will be gunning for us,” Goerge said. “She is so self-motivated that this is a great thing for her because she will know that we won’t get better if she doesn’t get better.”

Riley’s sister, Emma, a sophomore at Fowler, is also an All-State player. The rest of the Division 4 team includes: Ewen-Trout Creek senior Elise Besonen, Carney-Nadeau junior Tessa Wagner, Genesee Christian junior Ava Boike, senior Brooklyn Robak of Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes, junior Anna Fernandez of Plymouth Christian, Lansing Christian junior Mia Judd, Saginaw Nouvel junior Madison Looby and Leland senior Olivia Lowe.