As a growing list of prominent colleges clamor for Alexis Robinson, Ashland’s young point guard is just fine with sitting back and keeping Signing Day in the distance.
At the moment, she’s too busy enjoying her high school career to its fullest by collecting 16th Region Tournament titles and Most Valuable Player awards like they’re coins in a Mario video game.
The sophomore stayed super, helping drive the Kittens to a second consecutive defeat of Boyd County — this time, 54-52 — for back-to-back region titles. She became the first girls player to earn MVP awards in successive seasons since West Carter's Megen Gearhart racked up three in a row from 2001 to 2003, and only the third girl to take the award multiple times — Kandi Brown (West Carter) also earned a three-pack.
The Most Valuable Player selection was determined by media votes.
“She's our superstar,” said Ashland coach Bill Bradley. “She lives for this kind of stuff.”
Robinson went about achieving the honor a little differently this go-round.
In three games, the 5-foot-8 guard produced 37 points, 31 rebounds, 13 assists and hit five 3-pointers. She had 10 points and 11 rebounds in Tuesday’s championship game in which she played all 32 minutes.
The biggest bump in numbers this season came on the glass. She averaged 3.8 boards as a freshman, and 7.0 as a sophomore.
Her explanation for improvement in that area was simple: “Somebody’s gotta get them. I do all that just to help my team out.”
The quick-handed, fleet-of-foot Robinson excelled on the college floor.
“I really like the rims here,” she said with a smile. “I like to shoot here, and where it’s so much bigger, it’s easier to get transition points and beat people off the break.”
Robinson said that Bradley constantly relays a repeated message to her prior to games.
“He always tells me I’ve got to get them started,” Robinson said.
Robinson got the Kittens started, all right, with a baseline 3-pointer that paved the way to a 9-0 lead out of the gate.
And her motor just kept running.
Three of her Ashland teammates joined her on the All-Tournament team. Boyd County had three selections.
Journey Steward (Fleming County); Alexis Berry (West Carter); Bryana Greenhill (East Carter); Faith Conn (Rowan County); Arden Gross (Russell); Shelby Huddleston (Russell); Emily Frye (Lewis County); Taylor Frye (Lewis County); Taylor Wheeler (Boyd County); Emily Stewart (Boyd County); Logan Fraley (Boyd County); Allie Slone (Ashland); Haley Sue Foutch (Ashland); Sydney Cullop (Ashland); Alexis Robinson (Ashland).
Most Valuable Player: Alexis Robinson (Ashland).
Larry Stephenson Sportsmanship Award: Russell.
Showing a New Side
Robinson is known for always being calm and cool, and sustaining a never-changing expression.
But, after her team let a 42-33 lead fade into a 42-42 tie, Robinson slammed her fist into a seat during a timeout.
“She didn’t say anything, but that said it,” Bradley said. “All of us saw it.”
Boyd County did take the lead after that, but a 45-42 advantage was short-lived as Allie Slone, the night’s hero, stepped up and drained her fourth 3-pointer to keep Ashland afloat.
“I guess you could say we kind of let up,” said sophomore forward Haley Sue Foutch. “We just came together as a team and said, ‘They aren’t going to win this, we want this.’ We just kind of pulled it out.”
Bradley allowed himself to enjoy the 2013 version of a region championship a lot more than last year’s.
He reacted a lot like a politician after winning an election.
“I was hugging everybody, kissing everybody,” Bradley said.
He may need to pay a visit to the chiropractor after 5-11 senior Madison Jones gave him a good squeeze.
“I love Maddy, but she ain’t no small fry!” the coach said.
Estimated paid attendance for Tuesday night’s affair was 1,576.
According to Jeffrey Liles, the tournament's director, it was roughly the same turnout as last season.
AARON SNYDER can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2664.