The senior forward, who is more comfortable acting as the quiet leader on the court who leads by example, was asked to be a vocal one after the first couple of games this season when point guard Elise Spann broke her ankle.
For a player who allows her 13.3 points and 9.4 rebounds a game to do all the talking. She recently past the 1,000-point plateau and will be recognized for it this Friday when the Lady Buccaneers host North Paulding, but doing Spann’s job of verbally encouraging and occasionally criticizing teammates came somewhat of a challenge.
“I’m used to showing by example,” said Ezell. “I was hard and I struggled with it. Anytime you try something new, you tend to struggle. I’m used to being quiet and not having to say much, and then I was put into that (vocal) role very quickly, and there would be times where I was like, “Why do I have to the person that has to be vocal?”
First, it started with simple compliments, letting her teammates know she has confidence in them. Allatoona had to endure early season losses with Spann out of the lineup before Ezell helped the team right the ship.
She said part of the reason she prefers to let her game speak for itself was because she was part of a talented freshman class three years capable of displacing upperclassmen starters and wanted to earn respect.
“Being freshman on the varsity team was a lot of pressure,” Ezell said. “We had to make sure there was that balance and making sure the upperclassmen like us. It was interesting and it taught us a lot. It was OK for us to play well and succeed. (The upperclassmen) wanted to win.”
The 5-foot-11 senior is now more comfortable in being vocal. She still seeks guidance from her coaches, however, just to make sure she’s saying the right things and steering the team in the right direction.
“She’s adjusted well,” said Spann, who is expected to be cleared this weekend. “The vocal part was hard for her. I try to stay around and help her with that. “The team responded well and trusted her.”
Allatoona’s record speaks for itself. Ezell’s vocal leadership ability has helped generate a 9-6 overall record and a 7-3 mark in 5AAAAA. And the pressure of being a successful vocal leader hadn’t distracted her on-court ability.
“I was really happy when I found out,” Ezell said. “I never though it would happen to me.”
Ezell’s been scoring points in bunches as of late and it’s helped Allatoona win three games in a row.
In Allatoona’s latest 5AAAAA game last Tuesday, a 43-39 win over East Paulding, she grabbed the game winning rebound and came away with 18 points. She also had 14 points in a win over Woodland-Bartow.
“Alexis has picked up on the lack of scoring (with Spann out) and is the voice on the court,” Allatoona coach Michael Taylor said. “She’s one of the most quiet and humble kids I’ve been around.”