Diamonds in the Rough

Published 4:01 am Monday, February 14, 2005

By Staff
Tim Cottrell
Northview High School's girls and boys basketball teams have had tough years. Despite struggles throughout most of their careers, seniors Alexis White of the Lady Chiefs and Jarius Allen of the Varsity Chiefs have had outstanding careers in individual achievement and in leadership.
Both are captains for their team, and, coincidentally, both wear the number 30.
"She's the only one on the team that had a lot of experience and she's been captain for two years, now," said Lady Chief coach Lorenzo Jones.
"I really couldn't think of anything bad to say about him," said Varsity Chief coach Leroy Harris.
White has averaged 18.6 points per game this season for the Lady Chiefs and Allen has averaged 19 points per game for the varsity.
Those numbers may not sound spell-binding, but consider that in their past two games the Lady Chiefs scored a total of 33 points, and 29 of those were scored by White. Allen, while he doesn't carry quite as heavy a scoring load, has scored two-thirds of his teams points routinely throughout the season.
Allen, while initially uncomfortable with being team captain, said he has learned to excel in the position.
"It was hard at first," Allen said. "But over the course of the season I've been able to get my teammates more involved, and I've been able to bring everyone together."
White has also learned what it means to be a captain to her teammates..
"We have a great relationship," White said. "We've all really learned how each other plays, what we can and can't do. We've also learned how to play together."
Jones was especially praiseful of his star.
"Even though she's gotten most of the shots, there's been very little friction," Jones said. "She's the only player we have who can take over a game. She's a hardworker, a good kid, a good student, and a good person. She even could have gone somewhere else to win, but she chose to stay here and help build this basketball program."
He also noted that the Lady Chiefs lack of other scoring threats has been tough on White.
"She gets double and triple-teamed a lot," Jones said. "I told the other girls that that would be their opportunity to get open and make shots, but this year we weren't able to capitalize on that."
Harris was equally impressed with Allen's qualities.
"He's a leader, on and off the court," Harris said. "He's well-mannered, never causes any problems, he's a good student, and he's well respected around the school. He doesn't care about points, he just goes about his business."
That comment could be reflected in what Allen called his high point of the year.
"The first time we played East Hill (Christian Academy), I really got my teammates involved," Allen said. "I had seven or eight assists."
White's best moment of the year was equally team-oriented.
"It was definitely getting our first win in two years (over East Hill Christian Academy of Pensacola)," White said.
Both players have aspirations for playing at the college level.
"I'd like to go somewhere close to home, probably West Florida," Allen said. "I think I can do good things there."
"I'm hoping to go to a junior college or university and play," White said. "I hope they'll have a good season. I don't think my talent has been noticed."
The Lady Chiefs season, and White's high school career, ended Thursday night in Jay with a 58-25 loss to the Baker Lady Gators in the district tournament.
Allen and the Chiefs will open tournament play Tuesday night in Baker when they face off against the Baker Gators.

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