February 2, 2022
The hard work had finally paid off. This was the moment that she had been waiting for and dreaming of since her childhood. All of the extra shots and reps, sweat, and tears that she had put into the game of basketball, were ultimately coming to fruition. She had always wondered if she would play at the next level, and as she sat down at the table, surrounded by her mom, dad, sister, brothers, friends, and coaches, she knew that she finally would be. On November 10, 2021, it was official. Alyssa Crockett was headed to the Big Ten to play basketball at the University of Michigan. Michigan, a squad that has rallied off twelve consecutive winning seasons, including five Women's NCAA Tournament appearances, was getting one of the most storied athletes in the history of the Lady Rocks basketball program.
Leading the Rocks to an overall record of 18-4, and a consistent top ten ranking in the state during the 2021-22 campaign, Crockett and her classmates have played an immense role in getting the Westfield program to where it is now.
Crockett has been a dominant force in the state at her position and even ranks 48th in her class in the country according to ESPN. Even though the 6’1” forward was nominated to play in the highly proclaimed McDonald’s All American Game, she continuously improves her game.
“Over the years, communicating more and more, and gelling with the team have definitely helped the team become more successful,” Crockett said.
Crockett’s success at Westfield comes as no surprise to head coach Ginny Smith.
“As a basketball player, she is a competitor,” Smith claimed. “She has this different level of intensity to her. She is a little bit stubborn and bull-headed at times, but it all comes from a good place. She just wants to win, and anyone that knows her would probably say that as well.”
The Westfield senior has played the sport for practically her whole life, between the AAU circuit and for the Lady Rocks. Smith, having been with her for most of the ride, feels that her leadership has been one of her biggest improvements.
“She is a pretty big force for us on both ends of the floor,” Smith noted. “The expectation is that she scores for us, but she also does a great deal of defending and rebounding. She has become quite a good rim protector this season, and she values the basketball more than she ever has. She has just become an all-around leader on both ends of the floor.”
More than anything, number 20is a leader off of the court. Her presence and charisma have lasting effects on building and maintaining the winning culture for coach Smith and the rest of the program.
“I will remember Alyssa the most just from her silliness, and the lightness that she brings to situations,” Smith said. “She is so relational and she brings you into her world unlike most kids. Most kids have a wall built up, but she wants to be your friend, she wants to talk to you and she wants to know how your day is. Those are the things that I will remember and miss most about her.”
Growing up in the program, Crockett built many relationships during basketball, specifically with the girls that she shared the court with the most. For senior teammate, Chesney Tebbe, playing alongside a friend has provided her with some of her favorite memories over the years.
“When Alyssa and I were in 4th grade, we went to a camp at Butler,” Tebbe recalls. “It was so fun playing with Alyssa because we were basically the best two kids at the camp.”
Coach Smith is not the only one who has been there to watch Crockett develop as a leader. Lady Rocks senior Hailey Remaks understands how important her role as a captain has been.
“She is really a good leader and she wants the best for everyone,” Remaks noted. “She is always pushing everyone, even the girls who have been playing together for a long time. She just wants the best for everyone, including her sister.”
Crockett’s sister, Aubrey, is a first-year member of the team. Alyssa relishes the opportunity to play with her younger sister.
“Just being on the court for one year together will always be something that has been super special,” Crockett explained. “It has definitely been a journey with her.”
The 17-year-old has another family member who provides her with endless love and support. Her younger brother Caleb was born with Down syndrome, but he has been there for her every step of the way.
“He has always been my best friend and has always been a big superfan,” Crockett exclaimed. “He will always be cheering me on and always has a smile on his face. He is definitely someone who I look forward to seeing after each and every game and he will always be cheering me up no matter the outcome of the game.”
As the season wraps up for Westfield, Crockett and her family are ready for what the next level is going to bring.
“I travel up to Michigan and watch a few games here and there,” Crockett said. “It has been important to communicate with a whole lot of the coaches, and keeping in contact with Kate Clark from Carmel, who is also going to Michigan, has definitely been a big help.”
The Rocks had a tough end to their season in a 45-36 loss in the sectional semifinals to a really solid Fishers squad. Although the loss stings, it will never outweigh the countless memories that Alyssa was able to make with her teammates.
“The connection through basketball was always something that tied us together,” Crockett claims. “It allowed us to stay really good friends, so I definitely think that I will miss that piece the most, just always being able to see them every single day and spending most of my days with them.”