By Tommy Keeler Jr.
FRONT ROYAL -- Alesha Adams faced a tough decision a few years ago.
Adams played both basketball and volleyball, but decided to put all her focus on basketball. The decision paid off as the Warren County senior guard has emerged as one of the top basketball players in the area.
"I really enjoyed playing the sport of volleyball, but I realized I wanted to spend more time working on my basketball game," Adams said. "So it was a tough decision, but I think it was the right one to make."
The 6-foot Adams said she has played basketball since she was a youth, and the game has always come naturally for her.
She's played at the varsity level since she was a freshman, and has been a starter since midway through her freshman season.
With each year her game has grown, and she said her freshman and sophomore years were a great experience for her.
"I think I learned a lot from what the other players could teach me, to what coach could teach me as he was around me more often," Adams said. "Freshman and sophomore years were definitely big growing years."
Adams had solid seasons in her first two years at Warren County, but last year everything fell into place for her and her teammates.
Adams averaged more than 14 points per game and was named the Evergreen District Player of the Year.
"I really couldn't thank my team enough for that, to be honest, because they really pushed me to be what I could be," Adams said. "They had my back from the beginning. They knew what I could do and what I could be. That really helps out."
Adams also helped guide the Wildcats to a 15-9 record and the Evergreen District regular season and tournament titles. The Wildcats won a district title for the first time in 25 years. They fell to Handley 52-31 in the regional quarterfinals.
After struggling in her first two seasons, Adams said it was great to see the team have so much success.
"Being able to get from that bottom level to that top level where we are now, sort of, that's really a great feeling," Adams said. "And knowing that we all worked so hard to get to that point, that was really great for us, and it definitely brought us closer together for this year, too. We're ready to keep it growing, not to get back to the bottom."
Warren County girls basketball coach John Kelly said that he believes Adams had her best offseason yet.
"She played a lot more in the post in the summer time and that's unlike her," Kelly said. "It really helped her all-around game and colleges saw that."
Adams said she has played for four different Amateur Athletic Union teams over the years. This summer she played for Potomac Valley Vogues, based out of Vienna.
Adams' Vogues squad is coached by Oakton High School coach Fred Priester, who has won state championships and coached current WNBA player Jasmine Thomas.
Adams said she learned a lot from her AAU season and from Priester.
"He definitely helped me a lot," Adams said. "I thought I was at a pretty good place, but he helped me grow even more than that. And it opened my eyes to see that I can grow even more than I am now."
Adams plans to play basketball next season at Christopher Newport University. She said she also looked at Dickinson College and Bridgewater College, but CNU just felt right.
"I went there and coach [Bill] Broderick, he's a great coach," Adams said. "He made me feel welcomed right away. The team, they are so close and again they're welcoming at the same time. It doesn't feel awkward. It just felt like the right fit for me."
Adams said she was told she will probably play at the wing position, which suits her just fine.
She still has one more season left for the Wildcats, and Adams said she wants to make the most of it.
Warren County is planning on using a full-court press on defense, and Adams said she's excited to play that style of defense.
"We have the speed and the court sense I believe to really pull it off nicely," Adams said. "It's very exciting. I can't wait to do that. I think it will shock some people at how well we're running it. Teams are going to be surprised."
The Wildcats, who open the season at Central on Monday, are in the Bull Run District now, and will play in Conference 28 in the postseason.
Adams said she believes her team can do really well this year.
"Along with my fellow seniors on this team, we're just ready to go out with a bang, and leave Warren County with something nice as our senior gift," Adams said with a laugh. "We're ready for it, and we are ready to make a statement this year."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd