Not every story has a perfect ending, but Burnaby NOW's high school female co-athlete of the year, still has a chapter or two to write in her chosen sport of basketball before she's through.
Alisha Roberts ended her high school career at York House Girls' School with a runner-up finish at the B.C. high school AAA girls' basketball championships after sharing in back-to-back provincial titles at the AA level.
It wasn't the finish to a stellar five-year high school basketball career that the perennial provincal team player was hoping for. But it is a result she unquestioningly accepts.
"It's made me work that much harder. I don't ever want to feel that way again," said Roberts, who grew up in the Edmonds area of Burnaby and attended Stride Community School.
"We always knew she had some real potential. She has a wonderful family. Basketball was her life from the first," said Burnaby school district hearing resource teacher Bev McKenna, who worked with Roberts at Stride when she first entered the school in kindergarten through to Grade 7.
Basketball was indeed Robert's passion and the 17-year-old, firstteam AAA provincial all-star point guard parlayed that talent into an athletic scholarship to Pepperdine University in Malibu, California earlier this year.
"Playing Division 1 basketball has been my dream. It's something I've always wanted to do," said Roberts.
"I'm not going to be the best player on the team, and I know that, but I'm really going to work hard and to prove that (they were right in signing me). If you look at my stats, I've always been like that. If I need to score, I will. It's never been about me. If we have more points at the end of the game, I'm happy."
Happiness to Roberts has always been in the shape of a round ball and a cylinder ever since she can remember.
"I think I was born with a ball in my hand," quipped Roberts. "It was definitely my father (Norm). I think he encouraged all of us. It's always been basketball for me. I just love it. It was really awesome growing up with my dad as a coach. He is my coach forever."
When she was still too young to play, Alisha would join her father and her two older sisters, Lisa and Norma Jean, for regular shoot-arounds at Eastburn community centre.
"I was three years old. I would be watching. He showed me how to do a layup and I'd just practice for hours and hours and hours. I loved it - watching my sisters. Yes, I was definitely watching the game, seeing what others do and learning from it. Then I'd go and practice by myself," Alisha added.
She tagged along with her sisters to New Westminster Secondary School, where both girls captained their respective varsity girls' teams.
high school female athlete of the year
"I think that's how I came to love the game so much, by watching my sisters playing, and being around them and the team. I loved the team atmosphere," Alisha said.
At one practice, when a player got injured, the New West high school coach asked Alisha if she would like to step in and be the 10th player on the floor. She jumped at the chance.
"I was so excited." For the next three years, the then-Grade 5 student shared a spot on the bench and was a regular participant in the pre-game warmups with the high school girls' team before every game.
"Basketball never gets old for me - the team huddles before the game, bonding on road trips, getting to know everyone and becoming a close family. It sounds clichÃ©d, but (the York House team) was the closest I've ever been in my life," she said.
Roberts was the sixth player off the bench for the 2009 York House squad although still in Grade 9.
The following year, she started at point guard for the Tigers and helped York House to its first of two straight B.C. AA titles.
"I still remember the feeling of winning that game. It was unmatched," she said. A year later, York House won a second straight title without a single starting senior in the lineup.
That is what made the loss to South Kamloops in the 2012 girls' AAA final so difficult.
She says it has prepared her for what lies ahead in NCAA women's ball.
"(York House) coach Winston Brown taught me a lot in the last five years about what a team is and what hard work is. About respect and listening, and what it takes to be a good point guard.
"It's really going to depend on the work I put in and the experience I get," she added.
But come what may, Roberts says she will never forget her roots or where she came from.
"I grew up here, and I'm still friends with people here. I went to Stride. It's as much a comfort level, we're from the same place. But Burnaby is home for me. I've lived in the same place since I was born. No matter what, Burnaby is home for me," she said.
On the shortlist
- Sidney Roy - Burnaby North - Team MVP in soccer, basketball; Grade 12 athlete of the year; to University of Northern B.C. on leadership scholarship.
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