Temple recruit Alexa Williamson increases output for Chartiers-Houston girls

Sunday, January 21, 2018 | 11:02 PM

About four years ago, Laura Montecalvo accepted the position of head coach for the Chartiers-Houston girls basketball team with little knowledge of the group of players that she was charged to lead. Upon walking into the gym to coach the girls for the first time, it didn't take long for a ninth-grader named Alexa Williamson to catch her eye.

“Just the first time you see her jump, it kind of takes your breath away,” Montecalvo said.

“Of course when you see her, you think, ‘Wow, she's tall.' But the first open gym, when I saw her jump, I almost couldn't believe it. And she jumps a lot higher now. We try really hard not to take that for granted because I may never get to coach a kid like her again, and I'm very realistic in realizing that.”

Fast-forward a few years later and Williamson has done more then live up to the promise and potential she displayed back then as a freshman.

As a junior last season, the Temple commit averaged 23 points and 12 rebounds en route to leading her team to a WPIAL Class 2A championship and earning first-team all-state honors.

So what has the 6-foot-2 center done as a follow-up in her senior year this season?

Somehow, she's managed to increase her statistical output, scoring 26 points per game to go along with an average of 14 rebounds and eight blocks while helping her team burst out to a 7-1 start in Section 1-2A play. To help carve out even more of a legacy, the senior has broken the program's single-game scoring record twice this season — first with 40 points against Burgettstown and then again, two weeks later, with a 46-point performance against Aliquippa.

And Williamson has routinely dominated contests despite being double-teamed, or in some cases, triple-teamed from the opening tip.

“Yes, I'd say I get double-teamed most game. It can be tough. Sometimes, with a double-team, I won't even realize they're there because it happens so much. (Thursday), they had three on me, and it just gets tough if the refs let the game go a little bit in the paint,” Williamson said.

“I just try to work harder, take harder cuts to the hoop, box out more and get open.”

Despite the extra attention she receives from opposing defenses, Williamson has managed to power through and lead her team due, in large part, to her tenacity and relentless attitude on the court. That attitude is just another thing Montecalvo has noticed about her star player over the last few years. It's why, despite accomplishing so many long-term goals, Williamson continues to find new ways to impress and succeed.

“She approaches every game with the same mentality, and that's, ‘I'm going to play as hard as I possibly can out there,' ” the Chartiers-Houston coach said.

“I've come to expect that out of her; we talk about habits a lot and how you are what you do all the time. We focus on, no matter who we're playing, the idea that we have to be better then who we were yesterday. And that's what she does.”

Williamson and the Buccaneers will look to rebound from a recent loss to Our Lady of Sacred Heart when they take on Washington at 7:30 p.m. Monday at home.

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.


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