VANCEBURG – Entering her final high school season, Allison Voyles knew she had to put up big numbers if she wanted to continue playing at the next level.
The Lewis County senior was able to nearly double her scoring and rebounding from her junior year to catch the eyes of college coaches, and signed to play basketball at Asbury University on Thursday.
“It’s great, honestly. I’ve been working my whole life for this,” said Voyles.
“I just visited one day in practice and it just felt like home,” added Voyles. “I think that’s where I want to be for the next four years.”
As a junior, the 5-foot-11 forward averaged five points and 4.1 rebounds. The team finished with a 19-12 record in the 16th Region Tournament. After that season is where she really went to work.
“A lot of late practices, late nights, working on things I usually don’t outside of my game, shooting outside, dribbling – just stuff to get me to the next level that I didn’t need to do in high school,” said Voyles.
Voyles, who plans on studying marketing, increased her scoring to 11.3 points per game as a senior and shot 59 percent from the field. Her shooting percentage was the 16th best in the state this winter, according to statistics submitted to the KHSAA website.
“I think over the last couple of seasons, she’s kind of been in transition about the way she really wanted to play,” said Lewis Count coach Jay Fite. “I think really learning that she was a true five on the floor and when she really decided to sit down and post up go to work, I think she really saw the most success.”
In addition to increasing her scoring by 6.3 points per game, she increased her rebounding from 4.1 per game her junior season to 7.7 her senior year. Besides working hard outside of games to improve, the Lewis County coach believes her ability to stay out of foul trouble her final season in Vanceburg helped her improve her numbers.
“Between her junior and senior season, she committed herself to doing those things. I think her mind frame changed and I think she was just in a good place her senior year,” said Fite. “I think she got after it, she stayed out of foul trouble this year, which is something she’s never really done in her career, so when she stayed out of foul trouble she stayed on the floor and therefore her numbers were much better this year, too.”
The rebounding number is something that caught the attention of Asbury coach Leann Dahlstein, who is coming off her second season with the Eagles. Dahlstein says when she took over the program, the team graduated six seniors, which included all of her post players.
“I think the biggest thing is she’s almost averaging a double-double, so therefore you know she can not only score, but she can rebound as well and that’s a big thing in college,” said Dahlstein.
Dahlstein says she got to see Voyles twice in person and more on film, but her hard work that resulted in her improvements showed when she came to a practice.
“When she came to our practice and things like that I did talk to a few people that ended up playing her afterwards just to get an unbiased opinion and things like that,” said Dahlstein. “They said she was continuing to work hard and she was just a force to be reckoned with, so we’re excited to have her.”
Lewis County missed the 16th Region Tournament this year for the first time in Fite’s eight seasons as the team’s head coach. The run included 63rd District titles in 2014 and 2015.
“She was a part of our two district championships,” said Fite. “As a freshman on the best team that went through here, she was getting playing time, she was getting on the floor and making an impact, so we knew her future was going to be bright.”
The Lady Lions had four seniors on their roster this winter, including Voyles. With 10 players expected to return next year, the work ethic she exhibited is something he hopes will help make the future as bright for those young players as it was for her.
“I’m extremely proud of her. It’s hard to let those kids go that have been there for a long time and you get used to them and they get used to you. They know your expectations,” said Fite. “I think she just set a good example for these younger ones.”