A close relationship with her family has always been of utmost importance to Alayah Hall.
It’s what helped steer the former Dover High School girls’ basketball standout to Millersville University.
It’s also what made Saturday “the perfect day” in her opinion — one that she will always remember when she puts the finishing touches on her standout basketball career.
During the Marauders’ 81-57 home victory against Lock Haven on Senior Day, Hall became just the 22nd player in program history to eclipse the 1,000-point mark for her career.
“It was really great to have it on Senior Day,” Hall said of her milestone. “It’s just something I’ll always remember. It felt great to have all my teammates run out and congratulate me on the court. A lot of my family is from Maryland, and a lot of them came up just to see the game. And I had a lot of family and friends from Dover come to watch as well, so that was exciting.”
Milestone moment: With about two minutes left in the third quarter, Hall’s special moment caught her a little bit off guard.
“I drove to the basket and I kicked it out to my teammate Janelle (Robinson) for her to get a shot actually,” Hall said. “I cut to the baseline and she passed it right back to me, quick little pass, and I shot the jump shot and that was it.”
After the basket, much to the surprise of Hall, Marauders head coach Mary Fleig called a timeout to let the senior standout have her moment.
“I had no idea and I didn’t really want to think about it,” Hall said of approaching the milestone. “I just let it happen.”
The victory Saturday avenged a Jan. 2, 86-84 road loss to Lock Haven and clinched a home game in the upcoming Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference playoffs. It also helped Hall earn the PSAC Women’s Basketball Player of the Week award for the second time this season.
Constant improvement: Hall’s time at Millersville (14-11, 11-10 PSAC) has seen her blossom from a somewhat-hesitant player into an unquestioned team leader.
“I think I improved a lot with my jump shot and my pull up,” Hall said. “Before, in high school, I was always afraid to shoot or scared to shoot a little bit. But I’ve gained more confidence to shoot.”
Fleig said that Hall’s new-found confidence comes with a composure and high level of competitiveness that has manifested itself in her solid production across the board.
Hall averages a team-best 16.9 points per game this year. That mark ranks seventh in the PSAC. She is also tops on the team in assists (73) and steals (58). Hall has produced double-digit efforts in scoring during 23 of 25 games this season.
Despite only being listed at 5-feet, 5-inches, Hall is no slouch in the rebounding department, either. She averages 5.1 boards per game, a mark that is third best on the team.
“She’s our lone senior, who improved every year by working hard in the offseason,” Fleig said. “She got better each year and improved on her weaknesses.”
Post-playing career: Much like her abilities on the court, Hall is also becoming adroit at helping people off the court.
A PSAC Scholar-Athlete during her junior year, the senior majors in social work and will try to become just as valuable to society as she’s been to the Marauders' basketball team.
Hall says she's recently been accepted to further attend Millersville, this time as a graduate social work student, but has yet to make a final decision regarding her future.
“Her passion to help people is very important to her,” Fleig said.
Millersville heads to East Stroudsburg on Saturday for its final game of the regular season. A win against the Warriors would clinch the third seed in the PSAC East Division.
Another milestone is possible Saturday. A win would mark Fleig’s 500th win at Millersville. One of Fleig's first stops during her coaching career was at Delone Catholic High School.
Reach Elijah Armold at firstname.lastname@example.org.