A trio of former AHS basketball players sign LOI with ACC

By JONNY ZAWACKI

News Sports Writer

After turning in one of the best years in recent memory, the Alpena High School girls basketball team will be sending three of its talented players onto the next level to continue their playing career at Alpena Community College.

Alexis Smith, Morgan Allen and Rachael Barkley, all teammates this past season for a Wildcat team that finished second in the Big North Conference will continue to stand side by side as all three signed their Letter of Intent to play basketball for the Lumberjacks.

“I know it means a lot to the girls and as coaches it’s always good to have your program be successful and have your athletes move on and feel the motivation, passion and love for the game that they still have and continue to play at a better level,” Alpena co-coach Kelley Miko said.

Smith will bring a great deal of leadership to the lady Lumberjacks as she was a four year varsity player for Alpena. Smith is versatile and will likely play a guard position, despite being able to rebound so well.

“It’s pretty exciting to be able to take my skills to the next level and continue to compete and play with girls that were on my high school team. I think we’ll be able to have good chemistry as a team right away because some of us are so used to playing with each other and it’s going to be a good experience,” Smith said.

Allen will give the Lumberjacks a great defender and overall good player. The three year varsity player led the Wildcats in steals this past season and has a nice shooting touch along with a great crossover move which will make her a threat for opposing teams.

“I’m really excited to continue my basketball career. I love the game and it has always been apart of my life and this is something that I am really looking forward to,” Allen said.

Barkley spent just one year on the varsity team, but will be following the same path as her sister Megan who was also a Lumberjack. Barkley is a defensive specialist who plays the point guard position. Her ability to enter a game and provide swarming defense to any opponent will make her a true asset for the Lumberjacks.

“It is something that I’m very proud of. I get to improve on my skills and have a fresh start at a bigger level. I think coming off of a good season improved my skills and I am looking forward to continuing to improve my game,” Barkley said.

After graduating just two players from this past season, ACC head coach Bobby Allen has plenty to be excited about after being able to sign three talented ball players.

“I think each girl brings something different to the college. Keeping the talent in Alpena is huge as well and these girls coming in will definitely benefit our program in a huge way. I think we will be exciting to watch next season and I am looking forward to it,” Allen said.

Not only will this trio be effective on the court, but off the court these three girls all will be graduating in a few weeks as honor students along with being exceptional athletes.

“Sending three girls off to the next level is huge for our program and shows that we’re headed in the right direction. It’s a great tribute to the girls that have put in all the hard work during their four years at AHS and it’s really nice that they are playing at home at ACC,” Alpena co-coach Steve McCourt said.