Shining Star: West Valley senior helps lead Eagles to the SunDome once again

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — This past weekend marked the end of the winter sports season for high schools around the State of Washington.  For the West Valley High School Girl’s Basketball team, their run at the state championship came up short in the Yakima Valley SunDome on Friday.  That also meant the end of a career for senior Aliyah Henry who has worked her way into being one of the best players in the region.

“It just takes hard work and you have to want it. So I have a lot of younger friends on this team, I feel like I’m just showing them that you have to want it,” said Henry.

Reaching the state tournament isn’t anything new for Aliyah Henry and the West Valley Eagles.  Just two years ago, they made it all the way to the state title game, but now it’s one last chance to go out on top.

“We’re also the underdogs so I don’t know, I feel people underestimate us and I think we’re coming in ready to play,”

Self admittedly, Aliyah is nervous going into the final week of her high school career, but that experience at this level already gives her a sense of confidence.

“I feel like I kind of have a better idea of how the teams are going to be, how intense it is, and how real it’s going to feel, “Henry said.

“She helps control the emotions pretty good. Being a senior, obviously, the girls look up to her, and so it’s nice to have that team captain out there that you can go to, to keep things calm,” added her head coach Rick Jones.

Becoming that leader takes time though, and Aliyah has been able to grow within the program and is now one of the best players in the GSL.

“She was real quiet her freshman year, her sophomore year and then and then she matures and she gets more playing time and now she’s been a full-time starter, number one in our 1st team all-league,” said Jones.

“I’ve always just been improving as well since the beginning so it just kept me going,”

So, what is she going to miss the most now that the journey is coming to an end?

“Definitely just my teammates. I’ve had a lot of good memories with this team, and it’s just been the last four years I’ve been with them. So it’s going to be tough.”

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