Legacy can mean different things to different people. Two of the greatest high school girls basketball players the state has ever seen, cemented theirs on Saturday.
Allison Weidner (Humphrey St. Francis) and Alexis Markowski (Lincoln Pius X) won state championships just under three hours apart, on the same court and in the same building where they will play home games as teammates for Nebraska.
Markowski led Pius to back-to-back titles with one of the best tournament performances in recent memory, if not ever. In three games the Nebraska signee averaged 23.6 points and 19.3 rebounds. It wasn’t just a title run it was an undefeated season (25-0) in the middle of a global pandemic.
In the Thunderbolts semifinal win over Omaha Central, Markowski faced likely the toughest challenge of her high school career. She passed it with flying colors with a career night against the Eagles front court of Nyanuar Pal (6-3) and Ital Lopuyo (6-5) by scoring 30 points and pulling down 27 rebounds, good for third all-time in a Class A game.
Beating a team for a third time in a season is never easy. That’s what Pius did, defeating a Fremont Tiger team making their first title appearance in school history. Markowski led Pius with 27 points and 19 rebounds in the title game.
“This is the best ending I could’ve imagined,” Markowski said. “Winning back-to-back and playing with this team for three years. It’s crazy it’s over but I wouldn’t have changed any of it.”
It isn’t just about the title’s that makes Markowski one of the best in the state’s history. When the lights were the brightest she shined the most. In eight state tournament games she had eight double-doubles.
This year, Markowski broke the individual state tournament scoring record with 80 points, a record that stood for 36 years. In her eight state tournament games, Markowski had 185 points and 129 rebounds. The 185 points is good for 15th on the all-class tournament career scoring chart and third highest in Class A.
In just three years of varsity playing time Pius had a record of 71-6. Pius is currently on a 31-game winning streak and has won 51 of the last 52 games.
Markowski leaves Pius with 10 school records. Most points in a single game (42), points in a career (1,485), points in a season (583), 20-point games in a season (18), 20-point games in a career (38), rebounds in a season (324) which broke her own record of 315 which she set as a junior, rebounds in a career (866), blocks in a season (51) and blocks in a career (134).
After four trips to Lincoln and two runner-up finishes, Weidner and her Flyer teammates won the schools first state title since 2007. She scored 21 points, grabbed eight rebounds and had five steals in the 57-48 title game win over Falls City Sacred Heart.
“It means a lot,” Weidner said of finishing her career with a championship. “It’s an unbelievable feeling to finally get it done and I hope to leave a huge mark on St. Francis and inspire all the little kids that look up to me.”
Like Markowski, Weidner finished her career as the most decorated player in school history. The Flyers overall record in her four years was 99-10. She holds school records for points in a game (43), assists in a game (15), career points (2,282), career assists (740), career steals (630) and career rebounds (616).
With the net around her neck and waiting for the medal ceremony Weidner did something most wouldn’t. She took the net from around her neck and began cutting strands off of the net. Not for her to keep but for the elementary and middle school team managers that were standing next to the court, water bottles in hand.
“I love walking through the grade school and hearing all the kids saying hi to me,” she said. “I hope they see what I’ve done and use it as motivation because you can do just about anything you want if you but your mind to it.”
Sometimes legacy’s in sports aren’t what you leave on the court but the impact you leave off of it.