Prep girls basketball: Erika Alvey the face of Stansbury's program
Stansbury senior Erika Alvey is the last player on the girls basketball team who remembers what it was like to be a Stallion when the school opened in 2009.
Alvey was a freshman playing varsity in the school's inaugural year. That fact weighs heavy on her, and she sees it as her responsibility to take the Stallions to the next level.
"I feel like I am the face of the program and I represent the team because I have been on every team here," she said.
Alvey always has had the physical attributes of a good basketball player. Her numbers consistently have improved as her high-school career has progressed. She can shoot, pass and play defense. Nobody ever has questioned that.
But something is different about her this year. Maybe it is the fact that Stansbury lost point guard Kendal Levine at the end of last season. Alvey led the team in scoring, and Levine was right behind her. The pair made up a potent duo that presented difficulty for every Region 11 team. When Levine graduated, Alvey didn't just lose a longtime friend and teammate, she lost a distributor, and more important, a team leader.
Alvey now is the undisputed leader of the Stallions, and she has taken that responsibility to heart.
"Every year, I have demanded more of her," Stansbury coach Kenzie Newton said. "She has really stepped up as a leader. She has taken the younger players under her wing and has helped to bring them along."
Alvey, who is one of three seniors on the team, knows she has to be patient with the team's youth. At the same time, she knows the Stallions' opponents don't care how young they are. That has presented one of her toughest challenges in her new role finding a balance between trusting her teammates and getting the job done.
"It has been hard learning to create shots for myself," she said. "It has been just as hard learning to create shots for my teammates, but I have total confidence in them."
To be a good leader, a player must have faith in her teammates, which Alvey does. But make no mistake, the Stansbury coaching staff expects Alvey to take over games.
"She knows it can't just be her, but we will have to rely on her a lot of the time," Newton said. "She was a little more hesitant last year, but this year, she wants the ball in her hands. She knows it's her team."
Stansbury struggled in preseason play, but Alvey excelled. She ranks in the top five in Region 11 in points, assists and steals entering Thursday's region opener against Bear River.
The only stat Alvey really cares about is wins, and while there weren't as many as she or the team would have liked in nonregion competition, she likes what the schedule did for the team.
"I'm so grateful to Coach Newton for scheduling such tough opponents because the tougher competition has made us a better team," Alvey said. "We are better than what our record shows."
Stansbury senior guard Erika Alvey is the only player to have played on the varsity girls basketball team in all four years of the school's existence.
Entering the week, Alvey was averaging 14.3 points per game and had scored at least 9 points in 16 straight games, dating back to last season.
Alvey holds the school records for most career points and 3-pointers made.