By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Emotions were high as Alexia Hicks took to the podium to speak at her Signing Day event in the Lower Commons at South Salem High School.
Hicks was following Lara Tiffin, Former Saxon Girls Basketball Head Coach Nick McWilliams and current South Salem Girls Basketball Coach Adrian Lewis.
As she thanked her coaches and those who meant a lot to her, she began to get teary-eyed.
In the crowd as well, as Coach Lewis made a joke about how there was a lot of pollen in the room, was former Saxon JV coach and father Elvis Hicks getting teary-eyed about his daughter preparing to sign her paperwork to sign at Chemeketa Community College.
“It’s unbelievable, like she said when she was giving her speech, it’s a dream come true,” starts the elder Hicks who has coached Alexia in seventh and eighth-grade as a coach with the summer program and coached her during her first few years at South Salem. “It was a dream come true for our family, I knew when she was at a young age that she had the talent. Something special about her.
“I think her IQ level is something off-the-charts and I think it’s the biggest asset as a player. As a coach, she’s very coach-able, as a parent you always want your kids to go to school and get a good education for free, what’s wrong with that right?”
The younger Hicks settled back into her speech after taking a moment to regather herself as she finished her emotional speech before Principal Tiffin walked back up to the podium.
“Oh it’s a big deal because just thinking about it…my family, they’re a big part of my life and all the support they’ve given me ever since I’ve started,” said Alexia Hicks. “I love my family and I love everyone.”
The last four years have been something for Hicks. Going from spare minutes swinging up as a freshman to playing an important role in the State Title Game her second year in and was a Varsity Starter by her junior season as she’s seen two State Championships and a third-place finish during her time at South Salem.
“I’m glad I’ve had a bunch of different coaches, it’s nice that…I like having the same coach but I like learning other coaches styles too and I love this program. The South Salem basketball program, it’s amazing and I feel like home,” said Hicks. “It’s hard for me to leave, but I’m exciting for what the future holds.”
As Principal Tiffin hands Hicks a small token that South Salem hands out to every student-athlete that commits to the next level for athletics, earlier on in the festivites Tiffin mentioned how Hicks helped with the creation of the Link program on campus that helps incoming freshman adjust to the High School demands.
And the program, that Hicks too continued on top of adding United Sports that helps with Special Needs kids on campus that started this semester, Hicks wished was around when she was a freshman a few years ago.
“I love school and I love basketball too but I also love being in school. My sophomore year I got a letter from my teacher that they recommended me to be apart of this new Link program, so I was like, ‘I’ll try it out’. I love helping other people,” starts Hicks on Link.
“I did it my junior year and I absolutely loved it, I got to help freshman because I knew my freshman year I was a nervous wreck and so I just wanted to help out the incoming freshman. I wanted to ease their way, their transition into High School.”
The 3.54 GPA student also spoke to how much she looked forward to the Unified Sports Class and helping and spending time around those kids as she hopes to take the lessons learned at South Salem to Chemeketa as she signed on the dotted-line of her Letter Of Intent Wednesday evening.
“Everything I’ve learned here about just keeping my head up, especially on the court, even if things don’t go my way. Just being a good student-athlete, I have to be good in school and when I go to Chemeketa, I just have to keep up my grades obviously and being a freshman and being new to the program I’m going to contribute as well on-and-off the court,” said Hicks.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald