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UNDEFINABLE STAR: Redbank Valley’s Alivia Huffman Can Do It All on the Court for the Bulldogs

This is the first in a series of articles highlighting some of top returning boys and girls basketball players in the area leading up to the 2022-23 season.

NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Inside. Outside. Driving to the hoop. Spotting up for a short jumper.

Weaving through defenders. Delivering a perfect pass to an open teammate. Even making a full-court baseball pass to beat a team sleeping.

There’s not much Alivia Huffman can’t do on the basketball court.

Now a senior guard/forward/center — there’s really not a name yet for the position she plays for the Redbank girls basketball team — Huffman is eager to make another big leap in her game this season.

And lead the Bulldogs even deeper in the playoffs.

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.

“I don’t mind where I play or what I do,” Huffman said. “Just whatever. Whatever I can do to better the team and better myself to let us go farther, that’s what I’ll do.”

Last year, that meant bringing the ball up the court on one possession and then banging inside the paint as a post on the next.

The 5-foot-7 Huffman plays like a much bigger player inside with polished post moves and a relentlessness to get to the hoop.

She was virtually unstoppable inside during the District 9 Class 3A playoff run last season, which culminated with a championship win over Punxsutawney.

Until last year, the Chucks had a stranglehold on the D9 title.

Then Redbank and its undefinable star came along.

Huffman averaged 13 points and nearly 10 rebounds per game. Down the stretch, though, she was at her best. She scored 26 in a semifinal win over Karns City.

With imposing post, 6-footer Madison Foringer, lost to graduation, Huffman may see more time inside this season.

Make no mistake, though. Huffman will still bounce around.

It may depend on the opponent. It may also depend who that opponent has on the floor at any given time during the course of a game.

“It’s cool because if you are playing a bigger team or a smaller team, that will figure in on where I’ll be,” Huffman said. “I can really be anywhere I’m needed.”

If she’s inside, Huffman said she is aware of how tough she’s going to need to be this season.

Shouldn’t be a problem. Huffman has a fair share of scrappiness to her game, as well.

“Maddie was our main post, so she normally had teams double-teaming her,” Huffman said. “Since I don’t have her height and I’ll be seeing those double teams, I’m going to have to be more physical.”

Huffman’s teammates enjoy the flexibility — and skill — that Huffman provides.

It makes their job infinitely easier.

Last year freshman Mylee Harmon made quite the impact at guard. She benefitted from the inherent mismatch Huffman was to teams.

“It’s a lot of fun playing with her,” Harmon said. “If I’m running down the court, she can either throw me that long pass or she can bring it up herself and set up the offense.”

“She’s just a very unique player,” added senior guard Caylen Rearick. “She contributes to the team in a lot of ways. She definitely has our back through everything like shooting or if we need a rebound.”

For Redbank Valley coach Chris Edmonds, Huffman and her Swiss-army-knife ability allows him to seek out mismatches on the court.

Not many coaches in District 9 — or the state — have that kind of weapon at their disposal.

“With Alivia, there’s all kinds of possibilities,” Edmonds said. “We have numerous offensive sets that we can pound the ball inside and kick it out to Caylen and Mylee and others, or we can look inside for Alivia to post up and score.”

It’s no wonder then that Huffman was the Keystone Athletic Conference Girls Basketball MVP last season.

It also helps that she has a strong supporting cast back again this season, a group of friends she has gone to battle with on the hardwood since a young age.

“We’ve been playing with each other since the first grade,” Huffman said. “We’ve all had experience playing with each other. We’ve been able to form a lot of chemistry.”

Huffman, who is also a standout volleyball player, will have a very difficult decision to make soon.

Which sport to play at the next level.

She knows she wants to play one — she bandied about the notion of playing both in college for a time before deciding that kind of workload, plus school, would put too much on her plate.

Huffman has had interest from coaches in both sports. She has recently reached out to several schools for volleyball.

“I have options, but I’d like to explore my basketball options more before I choose,” Huffman said. “It’s stressful. I don’t know what I want to do. It’s been hitting me that I won’t get to play one of those sports again after high school.”

In the here and now, Huffman’s singular focus is helping Redbank Valley win another D9 title.

She also hopes to erase that bad memory of a first-round loss in the PIAA playoffs this season.

Huffman, like the team she plays for, won’t sneak up on anybody.

No worries. She and the Bulldogs say they are up for that challenge.

“Over the last couple of years, they’ve definitely felt like they’ve had the bullseye on their back,” Edmonds said. “We have a strong schedule, so it should be a challenging season to get us to districts and then, hopefully, the state playoffs.”

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.

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