By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
NORTH PORT — By the time Alexis Francavilla graduates in 2018, she’ll likely be North Port’s career leading rebounder.
Whatever that final total may be, it’ll be padded by two accidental rebounds.
“I shot at the wrong basket,” Francavilla said. “I was rebounding and did a complete 360, and after I got the rebound I went up again, the whole stadium as like ‘No, Franc. No!’ And I shot it anyway, but I missed. It was embarrassing.”
Both times she came down with the rebound after mistakenly shooting at the wrong basket, adding two more to her career total.
The blunders happened in Francavilla’s freshman and sophomore seasons, and it’s a good reminder of how far she’s come.
Now a junior, Francavilla was easily the area’s bast basketball player in 2016-17, averaging 17.3 points and 16.1 rebounds on the way to being named The Sun’s girls basketball player of the year.
“It was a pretty successful season for me. I feel like I broke out of the shell I’ve been in the last two years, and started doing things they’ve been telling me to do for a while,” Francavilla said. “I think it was just gaining more confidence in the game and learning more post moves and how to box out and stuff like that.”
Francavilla elevated her game after averaging 12 points and 11.5 rebounds as a sophomore. She credited new coach Dale Huffman with that jump.
“Lexi has lived off her athleticism for so long because she’s so big and tall,” Huffman said. “She worked on her game more this year as far as learning new post moves.”
Francavilla is a three-sport athlete at North Port, and there’s a very strong chance one of the three will get her to college.
Is it going to be as a basketball player, where she earned a double-double in 23 of 24 games this last season?
Is it going to be as a volleyball player, where she had an area-best 64 blocks to go with 160 kills last year?
Or is it going to be as a track and field athlete, where she’s been a state qualifier in multiple events?
“It’s hard to pick one because they all bring something out of me in a different way,” Francavilla said. “If I have to choose one, it’s between basketball and track.
“I think I’m going to try to go to a college for two, but if it’s down to one, I’ll play either basketball or track. I’d be happy with either one of those.”
Huffman knows if she ends up picking basketball, whichever school finds her, will be a lucky one.
“As far as her talent goes, it wouldn’t be surprising to see her go for 20 (points) and 20 (rebounds) next season,” Huffman said. “She has the game to play. When I talk to coaches, I say she’s the most under-the-radar player in all of Florida because she’s not out playing travel ball and building a name that way. She’s going to be like finding a 15-carat diamond underneath a rock (for whatever school she goes to).”
Francavilla has her sights set on re-writing the North Port record book in 2017-18. She wants to break the record for points in a game, and add to her already record-setting totals in rebounds and blocks per game.
Eventually, she’ll also get to the career rebounding record, but of course, a few minutes earlier than she probably should have.
THE FRANCAVILLA FILE
Siblings: Sophia Francavilla, Kyle Baldwin
Favorite food: Pizza
Favorite subject: English
Least favorite subject: Math
Favorite sport to watch: Volleyball
F: Celia Baermann
Junior • Port Charlotte
Baermann plays like she’s six inches taller than she actually is and can hold her own with any forward on the Pirates’ schedule. She proved that with her seven rebounds per game. She’s also a threat to score inside and outside, averaging 15 points per game.
F: Francesca Gallucci
Junior • Lemon Bay
As one of the area’s top in-the-paint weapons. she was consistent from start to finish this season. She rarely strayed in either direction off her average of 10.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and two steals per game.
G: Aryana Hough
Junior • North Port
Likely the hardest-working player in the area for the duration of a game. Hough fought hard this season for every point, rebound, steal and assist. She was rewarded with that hustle be averaging 10.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.7 steals and 2.2 assists.
G: Emani Jefferson
Freshman • North Port
Was far and away the best freshman in the area, and only improved as the season progressed. Jefferson contributed up and down the scoresheet with speed, totaling 14.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3.8 steals per game.
G: Kayla Lamb
Senior • Charlotte
A pure scorer who can drive to the basket or pop a 3-pointer, she averaged 12 points a game and also helped her teammates score by dishing out three assists a night.
G: Kelyn Moses
Senior • Charlotte
Capped off a great career by reaching the 1,000-point milestone. Moses might win a shooting contest against any player in the area, and was a threat to score from anywhere on the floor. She totaled 17 points and two assists a game.
Charlotte: Alani Qualls, Taylor Kirkus, Michelle Bunch
Lemon Bay: Breanna Nelson, Kelsey Hansen, Lauren Maheu
North Port: Nykevia Blakeney, Kamryn Nazario
Port Charlotte: Gerda Guerrier, Ashlyn Henderson, Janae Dennard