Alisson Evans breaks out in final season at SEHS

File / The Herald

Stanhope Elmore’s Alisson Evans (22) recorded 5.4 blocks per game.

The Stanhope Elmore girls basketball team needed to find production on the court from someone this season but it was not quite sure who would take the reins. It did not take long for senior Alisson Evans to step up both on and off the court for the Mustangs this season.

“She meant a lot to our program,” Stanhope Elmore coach Kelvin Stokes said. “She came to play every game and put that hard work in every day. We prevailed to the sub-region this year because of her play.”

Evans, a four-year starter at Stanhope who is the All-County Girls Basketball Player of the Year, led the Mustangs to 11 wins this season, the most of her high school career. While her defense and rebounding ability was always apparent, Evans took over on the offensive end and led the Mustangs in scoring this season.

After scoring a total of 330 points during her first three seasons, Evans averaged 18.4 points per game across Stanhope’s 27-game season. She accounted for 47 percent of the team’s points this season.

“I’m excited for her because she’s worked hard for this recognition,” Stokes said. “She’s always led by example. Night in and night out, she gave everything she had on the court.”

Evans also averaged 14.6 rebounds and 5.4 blocks per game. She recorded 24 double-doubles, including three against Wetumpka, which she said stands out the most.

“My best game was probably the one at Wetumpka,” Evans said. “We started off really bad but we knew that’s what we were working for and we wanted it.”

After dropping the first game of the series at home, Stanhope fell behind by 17 points at halftime on the road. The Mustangs fought back and Evans scored eight points in the overtime period to secure the team’s first area victory of the season.

Evans finished that game with 27 points, 16 rebounds, four blocks and three steals. She added another double-double in the victory over Wetumpka in the area tournament which sent the Mustangs into the sub-regional round.

“We all came together and played as a team this year,” Evans said. “We played better together and when the team was better, I played better.”

While Evans said it was not clear to her where her biggest improvement was on the court, she credited herself with becoming a better leader during her senior season. Evans said she used to be the quiet one but she had to come out of her shell a little bit and Stokes said that was clear.

“Honestly, it was just her mindset,” Stokes said. “Most athletes are going to reach that potential their senior year. When reality set in that this was going to be it for her, she knew she had to step it up. She started showing that she wanted it more.”

Stokes was the head coach for all four seasons of Evans’ high school career. He said he always saw the potential there and Evans worked hard to be where she is today.

“I always held her to that high standard of consistency,” Stokes said. “We’ve always challenged her here and she has risen to that. She has so much more room to grow though so I’m looking forward to seeing her develop more in college.”

Evans had multiple offers from community college around the state to play basketball at the next level. She said she expects to sign her letter of intent to play basketball at Huntingdon College some time over the next week.

“That means a lot to me,” Evans said. “Since I was young, all I wanted was to play basketball past the high school level. This is what I’ve worked so hard for.”