Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — When her fingertips first touched the pebbling of a basketball, Allison Basye felt a spark that has since transformed into a lifelong love affair.
She was just four years old on that fateful day but still remembers the feeling that consumed her.
“I immediately fell in love with the game and knew that I wanted to do this forever,” Basye said.
The rest, as they say, is history, but Basye’s story is still in the process of being written. During her seventh and eighth grade years at Huntington Middle School, Basye turned the heads of high school coaches and instantly drew comparisons to some of the SVC’s greatest players, including Southeastern’s Ella Skeens and Zane Trace’s Kristal Tharp.
That’s undoubtedly good company for any player, let alone a 13-year-old.
But when you’re being labeled the future of a varsity basketball program, those comparisons come with the gig. Now, in her next chapter, she’s a starting freshman forward for Huntington and some of those same high school coaches are crashing their brains to figure out how to stop her from scoring.
“Allison has been labeled as the future for a long time, probably since she was in elementary school,” Huntington coach Tiffany Carroll said. “What I like about her is that she hasn’t let that completely go to her head. Like any kid, she has to be reminded that no one is ever going to give her a thing and that she needs to work hard for everything.”
So through the reminders, Basye does exactly that.
Each day, Carroll says she’s one of the first players to arrive and one of the last to leave. And her love for the game is still like a rock, unwavering and as solid as can be.
“I first started to play AAU [travel basketball] at the age of nine and since then, I’ve never put a basketball down,” Basye said. “My favorite part of the game is probably the competitiveness. If you ask anyone, I’m a very competitive person with everything I do.”
It’s one thing to be competitive. It’s another to be successful. Basye has been both.
One of the challenges she’s already faced, and overcome at the high school level, is the pressure that was instantly catapulted onto her shoulders upon her arrival.
There was so much talk about how good Basye could be without her ever playing a minute of varsity basketball. But so far, she’s handled those expectations in an exceptional manner.
“I feel like I’ve been able to handle it pretty well,” Basye said. “That’s mainly because I play AAU and I’ve had to play against some really good competition and learn how to deal with the pressure of playing against high-level players.”
And let’s not forget the fact that Basye has a “high-level player” playing alongside her in senior guard Braiden Collins, who acts as a mentor. Collins is, oh by the way, one of the school’s four greatest all-time scorers with 1,152 career points.
By the end of this season, she has a chance to be at the very top of that list … if she can pass Lydia Bridenbaugh’s record mark of 1,576.
“Playing with Braiden is awesome,” Basye said “She is a great role model on and off the court and we play very well with each other. My expectations for myself are to play at the level how I know I can play and just go out there with confidence and play hard every game.”
It looks as if she’s already learning the tricks of the trade from Collins.
In her first three games with the Huntsmen, Basye has scored 45 points while Collins has continued her domination of opposing defenses with 89 of her own. Together, the two obviously make up quite the duo. But one is a newcomer and one is a proven star.
Fans have seen Collins plug passing lanes, hit 3-pointers and fight her way to the basket. But what can they expect out of Basye for the next four years?
“She brings a kind of versatility that I’ve never coached before,” Carroll said of Basye. “She can play any position and with her size, strength and athleticism, she’s a tough matchup for anyone. Coaches have to make a decision on guarding her with a guard or a post and she has the ability to make either of them pay in different ways.”
Still, there’s much work to be done. After all, the expectations of Basye haven’t went away. They’ve only intensified as she performs under a bigger microscope on a nightly basis.
That was evident in last week’s 45-33 loss to Unioto where she scored just seven points.
“We had a rough game against Unioto and didn’t play to our ability. We just didn’t play our game,” she said of the loss. “But it’s behind us now and all we can do is work hard and get better each day. My expectations for my team are very high. I know what we can do and how far we can go, as long as we play together and not get frustrated with ourselves.”
As you can tell, Basye has adopted the right outlook … one that could define her legacy when it’s all said and done.
“The sky’s the limit. I know that’s cliche but with her natural ability and work ethic, I think she has the potential to be one of the best to ever play in this league.”
But for now, she’s still painting her masterpiece, still writing the next chapter. We’re just lucky enough to be along for the ride.
“I see her everyday and I have been around a lot of SVC basketball in my lifetime,” Carroll said. “She has the kind of ability I consider to be special. When her career is finished, she’ll have put up some big numbers. No doubt about that. The sky’s the limit. I know that’s cliche but with her natural ability and work ethic, I think she has the potential to be one of the best to ever play in this league.”