In a basketball game against Oyster Bay on Feb. 8, Malverne High School senior Alexis Lake notched two milestones as a girls’ varsity player: 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. Lake said she knew she would make her 1,000th rebound because rebounding had came naturally to her. However, when the game started, she was nervous.
“I was just bobbling the ball. I couldn’t catch any rebounds, and I was thinking about it too much,” Lake said.
She composed herself when she looked in the stands at her parents, Sheila and Chris, who signaled that Lake was a few rebounds away. As for the 1,000 points, she didn’t expect the achievement since she needed 30 points. Then, she scored a team-high 32 points.
“It was a weight lifted off of my shoulders because everybody kept telling me, ‘You’re going to do it. You have to do it. It’s going to happen,’” she said. “Then it got to a point where I felt like I had to do it because if I don’t, everybody would be disappointed in me, and I didn’t want that to happen.”
Lake, 17, admitted she tracked her milestones. “It was just kind of unexpected,” she said. “I really didn’t think it was going to happen. I always wanted to be better than my brother, and this was something that he didn’t” accomplish.
Lake’s oldest brother, Darrell Wonge, is a Malverne High School alumnus who played professional basketball overseas. Playing against him, she said, helped her learn how to shoot over opponents who were taller and stronger.
When Lake started playing organized basketball at 8 years old, her father never imagined how far she would go. “Suddenly, she got better each year,” Chris said. “She became a whole different player than she was the year before. I was proud of her for the work she put in and the stuff she gave up.”
Lake is also a member of the school marching band and the girls’ varsity volleyball team. “It’s kind of hard to juggle everything,” she said. “It took a lot to balance my extracurricular activities, but when I got used to it and I developed a rhythm, it became easy.”
“Between band, volleyball and basketball, she makes me tired watching her,” Sheila said jokingly. “Honestly, I don’t know how she does it all.”
Lake, who has played on numerous travel teams, said she started to take the game more seriously in 2013. “I knew she liked to play, but I wanted to know if this was something she really wanted to do, if she just wanted to have fun,” Chris said. He repeatedly asked her this question over the years, making sure her drive and passion still remained.
“She always wanted to come in the gym,” said Lorenzo Jenkins, the girls’ varsity coach. “You didn’t have to argue with her about coming in the gym. She’s a hardworking young lady that just loves the game of basketball, and she’s definitely at the forefront of everything we do and try to accomplish.”
Sheila added that Lake has always been a student of the game, which led to her success. “She has a very good eye for everything that’s going on in the game,” said Sheila, who filmed all of her games. “She knows everyone’s role on the court.”
Lake listed many people who have had an influence on her game, including her teammates, professional trainers, coaches and parents.
“It takes a village,” Lake said. “There have been a lot of people that have kind of just added their input on my game. “My 1,000 points are not just mine. They belong to everybody that has contributed to my success as a basketball player.”
“It’s very important that we as trainers, teachers, all of the administrative staff and everybody else to play a big role in the community and our kids’ lives,” Jenkins said. “We all want to help them become young adults.”
Lake said she hopes to play basketball in college and professionally. If she doesn’t make it to the pros, she said she wants to become a teacher.