PREP SPORTS: ‘Be the best teammate I can be’: Holly Pond’s Alyssia Mitchell talks sophomore year

Holly Pond’s Alyssia Mitchell. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

HOLLY POND, Ala. – In this interview, I talked to Holly Pond Sophomore Alyssia Mitchell about her experience playing both volleyball and basketball for the Broncos during the last school year, starting with volleyball.

“Last season on JV, we came up short, but we grew as a team. I played middle and had a very important job to help the outsides and get blocks. After the JV season was over, I received the opportunity to play up on varsity. It was so fun, and my teammates really encouraged me. Even though I wasn’t the star player, I knew I had an important role: to help get the team ready for those big games and tournaments. I also learned that being loud and supportive on the bench is just as important as being loud on the court.”

She added,

“I would like to mention an upcoming senior: Kamryn Tankersley. She was a teammate who I knew I could talk to. She made sure I knew it was okay to mess up, and she taught me not to take the moment for granted. We were area champs and county runners-up last season and I can’t wait to see what the Lady Broncos bring to the table this year. As coach Adrien Adams always said, you have God at the end of the day.”

Alyssia talked about her coaches and what all she learned from them, plus what she learned the most about last season, and some of her favorite memories from last season.

“Coach Lexi Sullivan was always encouraging. She always knew how to make me laugh and told me not to get down on myself. Coach Adams reminded me that I could always be better than I was. I learned that it’s always good to encourage and be there for your teammates when needed,” Mitchell said. “I think the thing that I learned the most about last season was to never give up and give it your all. I think one of my favorite memories was winning area. It was so fun being able to celebrate with a group of girls on such a big accomplishment.”

Alyssia was blessed to get to play with a great group of girls this past season and she also talked about what she hopes to see from this team next season.

“I will always remember that we had each other’s backs, if not the first time, the next, and the amount of trust between each other,” she said. “This upcoming season, I hope to see the team winning county, area, and being the best they can be during state.”

Holly Pond’s basketball team had a successful season as they finished runners-up in the area and made the Sweet 16. Alyssia talked about that, what she took away, what it was like playing with a great group of girls, and what she learned from her coaches.

“Last season went very well. We were the JV county champions and I was on the All-Tournament team. On varsity, we were the runners-up in the area tournament and made it to the Sweet 16. I learned to never take the moment for granted and to always give it your all, even when you may be down,” she said. “Playing with a group of girls that encourage me all the way and be the best supporters possible is one of the things that made me the player that I am today.”

She added,

“I loved coach Mary Lauren Hartline, coach Rachel Daugherty, and coach Molly McKelvy. They taught me how to be a disciplined player. They always knew that I was capable of doing things that I thought I would never be doing. They are very inspiring. They were dedicated to what they were doing and they gave it their all at everything. They were always encouraging. I love coach Hartline. She has brought varsity a long way. She puts a lot of effort into everything she does to strive and be the best. They taught me that giving up was never the answer and to always push through.”

Alyssia soaked up as much as she could from last year’s upperclassmen, and she will work on some things to get ready for next season.

“I will really miss Maddi Ham. She taught me that to get better, you can’t just pick the ball up at practice and then wait until the next practice to work on things. Get in the gym and get those extra reps in. Work on that drill that you’re having trouble within practice. There is always room to improve. Another one of my upperclassmen was Kamryn Tankersley. She made sure that I knew that it was okay to mess up. She was always encouraging her teammates. I knew I could go to them without being pushed away,” she said. “During the off-season, I will be working on being consistent at making shots from everywhere, being able to take care of the ball while under pressure, put myself in game-like situations, and to gain strength.”

Alyssia talked about her goals and the team goals for this upcoming season and what will make this team special to watch.

“My individual goals for this season would be to get better every day, work on things that need to be critiqued, and be the best teammate I can be. As for team goals, we would like to make it farther than we did last year, fix all the little things that need to be fixed, and overall, just to play as a team,” she said. “What will make this team special to watch next season is the way that we have set goals, we know how to communicate amongst each other, and we have discipline and leadership on this team.”

Alyssia talked about some of her role models growing up, basketball-wise, and some of the best advice that she was ever given. “

As I was growing up, I would consider my trainers and coaches as my role models. My trainer, Cori, has helped me be the player I am today. Without him, I would not know how to shoot a basketball the way that best fits me or how to overcome things when I would get tired. The best advice I was ever given was to never give up and to always look for the best in things.”

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