DELTA TWP. – Alisia Smith has been playing basketball most of her life, but it wasn’t always her main interest.
Cheerleading, soccer and track were the other activities that appealed to the Waverly High School senior. Those were pushed aside in seventh grade when she made basketball a bigger focus.
That proved to be the right decision. Smith will continue to play the sport in college at Penn State. She signed with the Nittany Lions on Tuesday afternoon in front of family and friends during a ceremony at her school.
“This is the moment I’ve been waiting for so long,” Smith said. “Now that it’s true, it’s just a good experience.”
Smith averaged just under 17 points and eight rebounds last winter for the Warriors. Second-year Waverly coach John Schweitzer sees a bright future for his star forward in the Big Ten.
“Talking to (Penn State) coaches, they see that her best basketball is ahead of her,” Schweitzer said. “She’s got a lot of potential. She’s grown not just figuratively as a young student athlete, but also literally. She’s almost 6-foot-3 now.
“She’s going to be a stretch girl for them. They like to run and get up and down the court, and she’s great at that. I think it’s a really good fit. She’s a really good person and raised by a really good family. Penn State was very concerned about that. They put that as a high priority.”
With her future at Penn State now official, Smith is turning her attention towards her senior season. She said there is unfinished business to take care of on the court. She is hungry to help Waverly build off last season, which ended with a loss in a Class A district championship game.
“We have a really good team this year,” Smith said. “I think we will make it past districts this year, and I think we have a chance to make it to the Breslin. We all work hard in practice, and we have a good attitude about it. I feel like we can go pretty far in districts and just basketball in general.”
Schweitzer also is excited about what could be in store this season for his team with a big piece back in Smith.
“We know that it’s going to be a special season regardless of the end result,” Schweitzer said. “We’re happy that we’ve got a dedicated bunch that really is a tight-knit group. We’re excited. We’re looking to compete for our conference this year and make some noise in the district. We know that the winner pretty much every year in our district is successful in the rest of the tournament. Those are our goals right now.”
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