At season’s end, Alexis Payne aims to have reached uncharted territory.

The standout Valley High School girls basketball player, a second-team Class A all-state performer a year ago, says one big goal has eluded her so far in her career — her team’s appearance in the state tournament.

“I want to make it to states,” she says. “I haven’t been to states my whole time here.

“It’s very disappointing.”

“We really had a chance my freshman year,” she said, but the Greyhounds lost to Meadow Bridge in the region tournament. “I think we can go this year, as long as everybody keeps focused.”

Payne surpassed the 1,000-point career scoring plateau in her team’s first game this season — tallying 27 points in a 57-41 triumph at Greenbrier West.

“I was more excited than nervous,” she said, adding that it was good to get the 1,000th point out of the way early in the season. The bucket that put her over 1,000 was a bank shot. “I’m not good at (bank shots) at all,” she said with a laugh. “It was a lucky shot.”

Payne and her Valley teammates have played well so far this year, fashioning a 5-0 record after Monday’s 55-52 defeat of Fayetteville.

In that contest, Payne scored 36 points. Through five games, she’s averaging 30.2 points per game, including a pair of 30-plus contests.

“The team has really matured a lot from last year,” she said. And she has gotten better over the years, too. “I worked a lot on my shooting and ball-handling to help me better my game.”

She says she doesn’t mind that teams concentrate their defenses on making it tough for her to get her points. “I love it when teams play a box-and-one or double-team me.”

Payne also says she likes to share the ball with her teammates. “I don’t like being selfish.”

A 3.6 GPA student, Payne is active in Hi-Y, National Honor Society and Student Council, as well as her church, the First Baptist Church of Kimberly.

“I like being around people and helping people,” she said.


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