As one of two seniors on the Greenbrier girls basketball team, Alisha Simmons is charged with a difficult task.
Greenbrier High School senior Alisha Simmons is in the Athlete Spotlight.
Photo by Jonathan Heeter
Along with Kristi Nichols, she has to keep the rest of the carefree team focused.
"We have the most laid-back team in America," coach Garrett Black said. "Those girls don't seem to worry about big games at all. But when the game starts, they understand the task at hand."
It was Simmons who stepped up Friday in Greenbrier's first-ever basketball state playoff game.
Greenbrier was trailing Woodward in the fourth quarter, and the War Eagles seemed to have shut down the Wolfpack's offense.
Then Greenbrier point guard Michelle Swiec had to leave the game early in the second quarter with three fouls. She didn't return to the game until the fourth quarter.
While she was out, Simmons led the Wolfpack on a charge.
She converted two 3-point plays after lay-ins and fouls that helped the Wolfpack on a 10-0 run to start the second quarter.
"The key tonight was Alisha Simmons," Black said. "When Michelle went out with foul trouble, (Simmons) played one of her best games of her high school career. It was huge that, when Michelle went out, we actually extended our lead."
With Swiec out for all but one minute of the second quarter and the entire third quarter, Greenbrier outscored the War Eagles, 35-16.
"I just knew that with Michelle out, somebody would have to step up," Simmons said. "I played well, but so did everyone else."
Simmons and the rest of the Greenbrier girls will head to Columbus this weekend for the second and, they hope, third round of the state playoffs.
When the season finally ends, Simmons will join the track and field team and hopes to defend her 4x100 state relay championship from last year. She also finished third in the state in the long jump.
"I'm ready for track, but I don't want basketball to end," she said. "We're just having too much fun."
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