Alexis Dukes, a junior guard for the Harker Heights Lady Knights, has played varsity basketball every year of her high school career.
In 2012, the then-sophomore was thrust into a key role as a slew of injuries decimated the Lady Knights’ anticipated lineup heading into the season. Dukes performed well in her suddenly prominent role. This season, she is excited to lead the Lady Knights in what she hopes is a return to the playoffs.
What was that like going from middle school basketball to varsity basketball?
That’s a big change. You’ve got a lot more practices, you’ve actually got to start running plays — it’s a lot, but it was worth it. It makes you be a better player.
Did you have a “welcome to varsity basketball” moment as a freshman?
(My teammates) were pretty welcoming, but at the same time, they had that mentality (that), “No freshman is going to take my spot.” So I think because I was a freshman on varsity, it made them push harder and we went farther.
How was last year when you came in thinking this is your role and then someone gets hurt and you find out you have to contribute more?
That’s a lot of pressure, but I felt like I could do it. I still had (JaQuan Jackson) helping me, pushing me further. Then I had coach (Shirretha) Nelson…still pushing me, telling me what I needed to do.
Coming into this season, you’re one of the leaders. Does it seem like it’s been that long to where you’re a leader on varsity now?
Nah, it didn’t seem that long until (now, just) thinking about it.
But I know it’s my time to step up. It was well worth it.
What’s different for you out on the court this year?
This year, it was just more about, let me try to get somewhere but still get the team involved. So I have to step up.
Obviously, the team depends a lot on you and Sam Houston State signee Angela DeLaney, so what is it like carrying that load every night?
It’s not a big deal to me. It was expected. I had to step up some time.
Going forward, what is the mentality for your team?
The mentality is just go get it. We’re being slept on a lot, but we’ve got to prove to everybody, prove everybody wrong that it’s not the same team from last year.