Alexa Price was willing to wait.
But the team needed her.
Price is a sophomore at St. Hubert High School, and last year she started a pandemic-shortened campaign on the Bambies junior varsity basketball team and was on the bench for the varsity games.
But after a few games as a spectator, she got some minutes. Then more minutes. Then more minutes.
“By the end of the year, I was playing as the sixth or seventh man in some games,” said Price, who plays both small and power forward. “It definitely helped me for this year. We had a really good team last year and we have a really good team this year. I think it helps to be around good players, that helps get you ready.”
Price is no longer coming off the bench. Now she’s one of the starters for the team that won the Catholic League Blue Division last year. This year, the league is one big league, so instead of running through most of their opponents, the Bambies face stiff competition, especially when playing suburban teams like Archbishop Carroll, Cardinal O’Hara and Archbishop Wood, teams that are routinely among the best not only in the area, but in the state.
It means the games are tougher, but it also means Price is getting valuable experience playing against girls who will soon be Division I players in college.
And Price is soaking up all the lessons she can learn while going against the top players in the Catholic League.
“I think the biggest difference is you have to be quicker with the ball and make decisions quicker,” said Price, who lives in Fox Chase. “You do get better by playing great competition. But you have to move the ball quickly and do things faster, I think that’s the biggest difference.
“We’re getting better because of who we’re playing and I think we can play better. I know I have to get better, but the more you play against good teams, the better you get. Last year, I didn’t get in against the top teams, so I’m happy I’m getting that chance this year. I think we’ll be better after getting that experience.”
Price will get better, but she probably won’t play harder since every time she plays, she gives it her all.
In fact, that’s what got her on the court to begin with. Price is a good basketball player, but what makes her special is the work she puts in. In her mind, that’s why she gets the minutes she sees.
“I don’t consider myself a scorer or an offensive player, I think I’m a lot more of a defensive player,” Price said. “I try to work hard on defense. I’ve never been a shooter, sometimes I’ll drive to the basket, but I like to play defense. It’s not easier than playing offense, but I think I’m better at it. Defense is hard work, being aggressive, I guess you could say. I’m not afraid to put in work.”
So far, the Bambies have had a tough go of things in the Catholic League, but a lot of that is due to the schedule.
Hubert is 0-2, but its first two opponents were Archbishop Carroll and Cardinal O’Hara, two teams that are always threats not only to win the Catholic League championship, but among the favorites to win a state championship.
The schedule does get more favorable, but Price isn’t worried about whom the Bambies are playing. She’s more concerned about the improvement she and her teammates can make. She thinks competing with the top teams is a realistic goal.
“We are definitely getting better,” Price said. “We are all working to get better.
“At the end of the year, I asked what I could do to get better as a player for a chance to start. I wasn’t sure if I would start, but I wanted to do whatever I could to make sure I had a chance. I was told to work on shooting and be able to get more rebounds and stuff. I think that made me better.
“When you play a team that’s not as good, it’s not as fun and you just try to work on things for when you play the better teams. It’s more intense. And you get better. We all want to get better as a team.”
Price also works hard away from school.
When she’s not playing basketball or studying, she works as a hostess at Macaroni’s restaurant in Bustleton. Playing basketball actually helped her in that role.
“I was a little shy, but in basketball you can’t be shy,” Price said. “It’s helped me in everything. It’s helped me with my job. I like the job, I work with great people, and it works good with my schedule.”
She hopes that schedule includes a deep playoff run that will not only be good for this year’s team, but will help her in future seasons.
And she believes she has the perfect team to accomplish those goals.
“We have really good captains and they are great leaders as well,” Price said. “It’s good to have them because they show us how to do drills or just have better sportsmanship and cheer the teammates on. It brings us closer as a team when we cheer each other on and stuff. I think it will help us.”