Like many high school seniors across northwest Louisiana, Alexis Bernstine spent the fourth Saturday in December Christmas shopping with her boyfriend.
She found things she liked, things she needed and things that didn’t meet any of the first two criteria.
But the shopping gave her a day away from her studies in the Liberal Arts magnet program at Captain Shreve and from her job ringing up food items at the Brookshires on Pines Road. And it also gave her respite from the Lady Gators basketball team which is off to one of its best starts in recent school history.
Heading into today’s 6 p.m. contest at Green Oaks, Shreve is 12-4 on the season, thanks in large part to the play of Bernstine, a gifted player who wants the opportunity to make the transition from Class 5A basketball to the college level.
“Alexis is very, very ball savvy and protects the ball very well,” CSH coach Keith Greene said. “She rebounds well and she has a nice muscle build. She’s able to guard and play the perimeter or guard the post at the same time.”
The opposition can’t pigeon-hole Bernstine as a guard, forward or center, since she’s equally adept at all three, while operating out of a 5-foot-9 frame. College coaches aren’t knocking her door down, although she is attracting attention from area recruiters who’ve seen her play.
Bernstine has the uncanny ability to go in among the trees and come down with a rebound against players with greater height. She can go full bore up the court without missing a dribble and she can take an opponent off the dribble in a half-court motion offense. Whatever it takes to keep her Lady Gators winning, she’s willing.
Getting a late start in basketball hasn’t seemed to slow the progress of Bernstine, who moved to Shreveport as a middle schooler and took a year off from basketball before opting for Gatorland instead of Byrd following her eighth grade year at Caddo Middle Magnet.
She considered not returning to the court, but had a change of heart when her father, Malcolm Bernstine, said her she might look back at her prep career one day and regret taking the road less traveled. Bernstine found another encourager in Greene, who took over the Lady Gators program during her sophomore season.
“Things have changed a lot since coach Greene took over, because we weren’t working very hard before,” Bernstine said. “We’ve become mentally strong. Coach Greene knows how to talk to us and teach us at the same time.”
Despite a 3.7 GPA, Bernstine isn’t looking forward to the second half of her senior year because she’s required to take health–and Greene is the teacher.
“I know he’ll pick on me,” she said.