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UNEXPECTED OPPORTUNITY: After Successful Career on the Court as a Player, Union Grad Lexey Shick Catches the Coaching Bug

ALEXANDRIA, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Lexey Shick never figured she would be a basketball coach.

Sure she loved the game. Excelled at it, too, first at Union High School, where the 2018 graduate and Rimersburg native scored more than 1,000 points in her career despite suffering an ACL tear. Then at Juniata College for a season before she took a year off. And then, finally, ending her winding journey with three standout campaigns at Penn State DuBois.

After graduating from Penn State DuBois, Shick found a position teaching at the Stone Valley Community Charter School in nearby Huntingdon.

“My first big girl job,” Shick said, laughing.

Then another opportunity came her way. This one a bit unexpected.

(Pictured above, Union High School graduate Lexey Shick, left, is an assistant girls basketball coach at Juniata Valley High School. Elizabeth Radabaugh, right, is the head coach/submitted photo)

Juniata Valley High School was looking for a pair of girls basketball coaches. Shick decided to apply to become the assistant coach, fearing the time constraints as a head coach would be too much of a strain on her.

She was hired, joining a staff with first-year head coach Elizabeth Radabaugh.

Now, she has caught the coaching bug.

“I just jumped on it and I’m glad I did,” Shick said. “At the end of the day, the word I always think of is impact. With teaching, it’s how can I make an impact with these kids? With coaching it’s the same thing. You want to make an impact, win or lose. You want to help them become the best versions of themselves.”

Shick, now 23, certainly has some life lessons to impart.

Her journey, while successful, was rarely easy.

She was a star guard for the Damsels, but an ACL injury threatened to derail her career. She returned better and stronger than ever, averaging 15.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.6 steals as a senior.

Shick was looking forward to seeing how her collegiate career would unfold at Juniata, but she soon realized the college was a bad fit; it didn’t feel like home.

That led to her struggling.

So, she decided to leave Juniata and the game behind, transferring to Clarion University for a year.

But Shick missed basketball and decided to rekindle her career at the Penn State DuBois.

She flourished there for three seasons.

Shick also learned some valuable lessons.

Like to never take anything for granted.

“I tell these girls that every day you have this opportunity,” Shick said. “Even though they’re young, I tell them treat every day like it could be your last game or your last practice because when you’re older, like me, you reflect back and you miss those days.”

Shick teaches kindergarten at Stone Valley. Then she leaves that job to coach teenagers at another.

Quite an age difference.

“I get off work and depending on how long I stay after work, I go right to basketball,” Shick said. “So I’m always on the go. Always busy and I like that.”

Shick said she and Radabaugh worked well together from the start.

Shick is the fiery one while Radabaugh is the calmer one on the bench and in practice.

“I’m the fire,” Shick said, laughing. “It’s kind of tough love, but at the end of the day, it just shows you how much passion and how much I care about wanting them to get better every day. We have a good balance.”

Juniata Valley is a young team and like many young teams, the Hornets have been inconsistent with a 4-8 record after a loss to one of the top teams in the Inter-County North conference, Williamsburg.

Shick has been able to channel a lot of what she has learned over the years to her new players.

And she has learned a great deal — about the game and herself.

“When you’re in high school, you need to learn a lot,” Shick said. “Then you go to college and you’re a more mature player and you understand more about seeing the floor and knowing your role. And just showing sportsmanship. It’s a balancing act trying to teach the girls that, hey, someone is always watching you when it comes to your attitude and not letting your emotions get the best of you. I’m just trying to help shape the girls into being the best version of themselves.”

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