It has not been an easy road for Jackson girls basketball senior Alexis Allstun, but last week she signed a national letter of intent to continue playing the sport she loves collegiately.
Allstun, who suffered season-ending injuries both her freshman and junior year, will play basketball for Missouri Baptist after helping lead the Indians to a third-straight Class 5 District 1 Championship this season.
“I’m definitely blessed — it was a hard journey, but I’m glad I stuck to it,” Allstun said. “I like the smaller [aspect of Missouri Baptist], and it has more of a homey feel. It’s not too far from home, so I like that a lot, too.”
Another reason why Allstun decided to play for Missouri Baptist was because she noticed the players on the team were close to each other. She said she is looking forward to meeting new people and developing a “family” among her new team.
This was how Allstun and her fellow teammates were able to sweep the SEMO Conference this year by winning both the regular-season and tournament championship, finishing with an overall record of 24-5. The Indians were one win away from reaching the Class 5 Final Four as they fell to Parkway Central in the quarterfinals.
“During the season we just had to do every practice like it was our last, and push each other to our limits,” Allstun said. “And that’s what we did, and we went pretty far.”
Allstun nearly averaged a double-double with 10.3 points per game and 5.7 rebounds per game, while recording a team-high 14 blocks en route to being named all-conference and all-district for the second time in her career.
Allstun earned the same accolades her sophomore year after putting up 11.4 points and coming down with 6.9 rebounds per contest. Jackson finished 23-7 and won the conference tournament as well as a district title.
“Most of the girls I’ve played with [at Jackson] I’ve played with since I was young — 10 or 11,” Allstun said. “We’re all like sisters — we’re really close, and I always enjoyed playing with them.”
Two of those teammates include fellow seniors Kalli Mayfield and Mikala Liley, who also garnered all-conference and all-district honors this year. Mayfield averaged a team-high 11.9 points and 2.8 assists, while Liley averaged 10 points and finished with a team-high 6.6 boards.
This year was the only time in high school where each of these players started for Jackson in each game during one season since Allstun missed her junior year and Liley her freshman and sophomore year with injuries as well.
When she first came back for her final season after tearing her ACL, Allstun said she was certainly nervous.
“I didn’t think I would be able to play the same again,” Allstun said. “In our first game I didn’t think I played the same, so during the whole season I had to re-teach myself how to play and trust myself.”
Before her junior year, Allstun had almost quit playing basketball because she felt tired and worn out. Having to watch her team from the sidelines that season helped her realized how blessed she was to have the sport in her life.
Jackson head coach Tyler Abernathy has always noticed Allstun to be a “very driven” person, and his team was able to reach the quarterfinals for the second time in his career at Jackson because of her.
“She has great body awareness and control — she can block shots and not foul,” Abernathy said. “Rebounding the ball, she is very good. She’s just very instinctual on both ends of the floor when it comes to rebounding. She has the ability to [take over games].”
In the classroom at Missouri Baptist, Allstun will be studying health science because she wants to one day be a pediatric occupational therapist.