Covering the Land of Lincoln

This Madison La Follette junior scored 40 points in 3 of her team’s 8 games. Here’s how.

Jon Masson | Wisconsin State Journal

The scoring and rebounding numbers were startling.

Even Alayna West had to acknowledge that. 

The Madison La Follette junior’s production has skyrocketed this season after being the fourth scoring option on the senior-laden girls basketball team last season.

The 5-foot-9 West has scored more than 40 points three times, including a program-record 48 against Madison Memorial, and grabbed 20 or more rebounds three times, including a program-best 32 against Beloit Memorial, in her first eight games this season.

This after averaging 11 points and 9.8 rebounds as a sophomore.

The Lancers are off to a 6-2 start and West leads the state in scoring (33.1 points per game) and rebounding (19.0 boards per game).

West, who has offers from North Dakota and Eastern Illinois and has started to receive interest from higher NCAA Division I programs, also is in the top 10 in the state in steals (6.0 per game), according to WisSports.net’s leader boards.

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“She is so fast, so quick,” La Follette girls basketball coach Will Green said. “She doesn’t slow down. … Once it kicked in that she might do this every game, it was definitely astounding. And now I think she is very capable of doing that. And now we want her to do it.”

West believed she would do well this season, but said, “I didn’t think it would be as extreme as it is now with multiple 40 and 20 games. So that came as a shock.”

Green knew much of the team’s scoring production from last season was gone along with eight seniors, notably guards Demetria Prewitt, Aaliyah Smith and Malia Green, the coach’s daughter.

The quick-jumping West had been asked to play inside and crash the boards last season.

“Being a guard is my natural thing,” the 17-year-old West said. “I had to play the ‘5’ last year because that’s where the team needed me.”

New season, new role

Her role would have to change.

Most of the time, she’s playing point guard and carrying a big load for her team.

“I knew she could give us a lot of production, but I didn’t know it would be in the area of almost 40 points a game,” Green said. “And the rebound production. Wow.

“I had asked my team before the season started how we were going to get 45 points. The starting five said, ‘Oh coach, we can probably each score six or eight points.’ I said, ‘If all of you can get six or eight points, that will be great.’ Then the first night, she had 36 and the next night 48. She’s been consistently doing it for us and it’s been great. She’s just an outstanding athlete.”

West, who also competes in sprints and long jump during track and field season, has a knack for rebounding.

“I just think it’s how high I can jump,” she said. “I feel I’m off the floor grabbing the rebound before most other girls. It makes it easier.”

Competing with boys

West played on boys basketball teams and up in age with girls teams when she was younger. She also played youth football with the Southside Raiders, Green said. 

“That was our big man,” Chris Davis Jr., a 6-3 sophomore guard for the Sun Prairie West boys basketball team, said when asked about Alayna West. “She was our fifth, always. She used to be taller than all of us.

“She had the most heart of us. Now she’s averaging 50 points a game. Growing up, she was playing with boys and she also was playing with females. I’m grateful for her. I knew this was going to happen. I texted her, ‘This is going to be your best season.'”

West, who said she has seven siblings (including four brothers), also learned the game playing family pickup games.

“That’s really what my childhood was — playing outside basketball against my brothers and their friends and my cousins,” she said. “My (older) brother Anthony is the one I’ve played one-on-one the most.”

Anthony West, a former La Follette boys basketball standout, also is someone who has believed this was possible.

“I think this is a shock to a lot of people,” Alayna West said. “The only person that I could say called it from the beginning was my brother Anthony. He’s been saying, ‘You are going to have a breakout season.’ He said, ‘You should average 30 points and 20 rebounds.’ He’s been saying that already.”



12202022 Alayna West SKM 02-12212022155857

Madison La Follette’s Alayna West shoots Tuesday at  Monona Grove.



Sun Prairie West boys basketball coach Chris Davis coached the team that his son, West and several other current Madison high schoolers played on as youth.

“She played with the boys forever,” he said. “You just knew when she transitioned back to the girls, it was going to be impossible to guard her.”

West, who’s leading Reedsburg’s Sydney Cherney in state scoring, had 27 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and five steals but nine turnovers in La Follette’s 79-46 loss to host Monona Grove on Tuesday.

West, who averages 5.1 assists per game, and Green are looking for her to be more efficient on the offensive end.

Sun Prairie West sophomore guard Chris Davis Jr. discusses being at a new school and the basketball season. 

Jon Masson | Wisconsin State Journal

West, a second-team all-conference player last season, has been taking almost 30 shots a game and her shooting from the floor (about 41%) and free throw line (about 53%) need improvement.

She’s an active offensive rebounder. Her high rebounding totals sometimes are a product of rebounding her own missed shots in succession.

“So sometimes she’s getting like four rebounds in one possession,” Green said.

Receiving extra attention 

Her early season success has led to teams double-teaming and triple-teaming her or playing a box-and-one, Green said.

That initially surprised West. 

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“It was something I wasn’t used to,” she said. “But now it doesn’t really matter what they do because I have to play how I have been playing.”

Green hopes juniors Serena Olson, Da’Jianna Hayes and Kelicia Caldwell and sophomore Rayne Mitchell can complement West, who said she wants to get more teammates involved.

“What we are working on now is for her to understand how to see other people and see the whole floor,” Green said. “She has to be able to see the floor and get people involved and not force shots.”

That becomes particularly important when La Follette meets top Big Eight Conference teams, including fifth-ranked Verona, eighth-ranked Sun Prairie West and Janesville Craig, which comfortably defeated La Follette in the opener.

Verona  led by juniors Taylor Stremlow (who’s narrowed her college choices to Iowa, the University of Wisconsin, Illinois and Penn State) and Reagan Briggs and seniors Paige Lambe (St. Cloud State commit) and Megan Murphy (UW-Stevens Point verbal commit)  currently lead the conference. West showed flashes of what she could do last season, scoring 29 points and grabbing 19 rebounds in a late-season victory over Verona.

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West’s eye-popping start this season has been a cool thing for the Lancers.

“To have her at the top of the list of scoring and rebounding, that’s phenomenal for La Follette’s program,” Green said.

And for West, a good student who particularly enjoys math and history.

“She is finally getting her recognition,” Chris Davis said. “I think a lot of people didn’t know she was this good. I’ve been telling her mom since she was little that she’s a very special player.

“I think she’s going to go farther in life than a lot of girls that have come out of the Madison area because she has almost a 4.0, she’s a very good kid, very respectful, a very polite young lady. And she’s a heck of a player. I think she will go somewhere special, as a Division I player or anything in life, and she will be very successful.”

See where these Madison-area high school athletes will compete in college

DEFOREST

Jaelyn Derlein

School: UW-Parkside

Sport: Basketball

MADISON EDGEWOOD

Kathryn Albright

School: Marian University

Sport: Softball

Ryan Drumm

School: Butler

Sport: Baseball

Izzy Enz

School: University of Wisconsin

Sport: Swimming

Madison Foley

School: Washington University (St. Louis)

Sport: Soccer

Leo Koenig

School: St. Olaf

Sport: Baseball

Sam Klestinski 

School: North Dakota

Sport: Football (Dec. 21). 

Addie Schmotzer

School: University of St. Thomas (Minn.)

Sport: Volleyball

Brynn Stacey

School: University of Arizona

Sport: Swimming

Sam Vega

School: Southern Illinois University

Sport: Swimming

MADISON MEMORIAL

Andrea Jaskowiak

School: University of Iowa

Sport: Softball

Rowan Schreiber

School: New Jersey Institute of Technology

Sport: Volleyball

MIDDLETON

Natalie Charles

School: University of Idaho

Sport: Swimming

Nick Chirafisi

School: University of Utah

Sport: Swimming

Braeden Conwell

School: Carroll University

Sport: Lacrosse

Audrey Deptula

School: Loyola University Chicago

Sport: Basketball

Hayden Hellenbrand

School: Edgewood College

Sport: Baseball

Gavyn Hurley 

School: Winona State University 

Sport: Men’s basketball 

Evin Jordee

School: Saint Peter’s University

Sport: Volleyball

Sydney Knutowski

School: University of Wisconsin-Platteville 

Sport: Soccer

Jordan LaScala

School: University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

Sport: Volleyball

Jack Madoch 

School: University of Wisconsin

Sport: Swimming

Zaira Malloy-Salgado

School: University of Wisconsin

Sports: Cross country and track

Sierra Pertzborn

School: University of Toledo

Sport: Volleyball

Madilyn Vander Sanden

School: University of Wisconsin-La Crosse 

Sport: Track and field

MONONA GROVE

 

Devin Coyle

School: St. Mary’s. 

Sport: Baseball (December period)

Jackson Hewitt

School: St. Mary’s 

Sport: Baseball (December period)

Miles Nelson

School: Clark Atlanta University

Sport: Baseball

Mac Vesperman

School: Edgewood College 

Sport: Baseball (December period)

OREGON

Elise Boyd

School: Cleveland State

Sport: Soccer

Aubree Caya

School: University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Sport: Soccer

Seth Niday

School: Lewis University (Illinois)

Sport: Lacrosse

Ashley Wolfe

School: Illinois State

Sport: Soccer

 

SUN PRAIRIE WEST

Lauren Adams

School: Iowa 

Sport: Rowing

Avree Antony

School: Colorado State

Sport: Basketball

Tori Barnet

School: Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Sport: Swimming

Isabel Royle

School: St. Louis University

Sport: Softball

VERONA

Paige Lambe

School: St. Cloud State

Sport: Basketball

Abbi Rupnow

School: Mercer University

Sport: Lacrosse

Lauren Volk

School: Grand Valley State University

Sport: Lacrosse

 

WAUNAKEE

Payton Ross

School: Northern Michigan 

Sport: Lacrosse 

Kyla Saleh

School: University of Wisconsin

Sport: Track and field 

Emily Whyte

School: Northern Michigan 

Sport: Soccer

 

MORE TO COME

Check back for updates to the list as more area students announce their college commitments. And if you notice a local student athlete missing from the list, email the student’s information to [email protected] 

MADISON WEST

Elizabeth Arnold

School: College of Charleston

Sport: Soccer

Caleb Karll

School: Ohio University

Sport: Baseball

Ben Minikel-Lacocque

School: Davidson

Sport: Soccer

STOUGHTON

Amelia Albers

School: Michigan Technological University

Sport: Volleyball

MADISON LaFOLLETTE

Arhman Lewis

School: Augustana University (South Dakota)

Sport: Basketball

MADISON EAST

Smith Connor 

School: University of Minnesota 

Sport: Men’s swimming and diving 

LODI

Zane Licht 

School: North Dakota State 

Sport: Wrestling (November).

Lily Strong

School: Minnesota State-Mankato 

Sport: Women’s track and field (Dec. 21)

Kaelyn Tatro 

School: Viterbo University

Sport: Women’s soccer (Dec. 21) 

Raegan Zastrow

School: Bryant & Stratton 

Sport: Women’s volleyball (Dec. 21)

SUN PRAIRIE EAST

Logan Cunningham 

School: UW-Whitewater 

Sport: Swimming and Diving (Dec. 21) 

Jerry Kaminski 

School: North Dakota 

Sport: Football (Dec. 21) 

Kenzie Longley

Sport: Softball

School: UW-Oshkosh (Dec. 21) 

Ruth Pavelski 

School: Minnesota State-Moorhead 

Sport: Swimming and diving (Dec. 21)

Taylor Schick

School: Lake Forest 

Sport: Golf (Dec. 21)

Reagan Schwartzer 

School: Bemidji State

Sport: Women’s tennis (Dec. 21) 

Jonathan VandeWalle 

School: Iowa State University

Sport: Football (Dec. 21). 

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