Golfis provides shining example on and off court
IRON RIVER—Chances are that if you took a ride past the Iron River Township Hall the last few summers, you’d eventually see a solitary teenage girl on the adjacent basketball court with nothing but a ball and a radio.
That girl would have been Alexis Golfis.
Golfis has spent countless hours there since her middle-school days, striving to improve and refine her basketball skills. And the court has become a second home to the 17-year old who lives in Gibbs City.
Seems Alexis was a big reason why there are baskets at the hall to begin with.
“During middle school, my mom (Holly) went to one of the township meetings and she was like, ‘My daughter would really like some hoops down there,” said Golfis, now a senior and the leading scorer on the West Iron County girls team this season. “And so like a month later, there were hoops down there, with a freshly-paved (court).”
So Golfis, a dedicated and committed sort, expressed her appreciation by setting up shop at the court. During each offseason since, Golfis has done what every basketball coach wants from their players during the summer months – she worked on her game.
Golfis would begin her workout by running from her home to the court. She then started her workout routine with 15 to 30 minutes of ball-handling drills, striving to increase her confidence driving to the hoop. Then she started shooting drills, expanding out from shots in the lane to the midrange areas and eventually to 3-point distance.
After that, Golfis would go back to work on any troublesome areas. The whole routine would take anywhere from one to two hours every day. On some days, she would practice with some male friends to “toughen up myself.”
She also mixed some long-distance training, running anywhere from 2 to 4 miles per day, despite her distaste for long-distance training. She also rode her bike daily and lifted weights two or three times a week at home.
“At first it was hard to get into the routine, but once I got into it, I couldn’t break the routine unless I went to a summer camp or something,” Golfis said. “But I told my parents that even if I don’t want to do it, tell me that I have to do it.”
Not that she had to search strenuously for someone to push her. Golfis’ father Mike is a former player from Iron Mountain and also coached his daughter during her elementary-school days. Seems Dad was more than willing to teach Alexis the value of a strong work ethic.
Many coach-daughter or coach-son relationships are fraught with complications. But Alexis said this one wasn’t.
“He was very tough on me, but he made sure that I knew why he was tough on me,” she said. “And I’m thankful that he was tough on me because it’s made me the type of dedicated person I am today.”
That dedication extends beyond the basketball court. Golfis offers the same effort as a tennis player, as a track athlete, as a student and as a valuable member of the West Iron student body.
Beside her athletic pursuits, Golfis is a member of the National Honor Society, Key Club, Forest Club, the WIC yearbook staff, the youth group and a vocalist for the Praise Band at Grace Covenant Church. She is also the reigning Miss Iron County.
An impressive list, it’s safe to say.
“She’s extremely hardworking and dedicated,” said Joe Serbentas, the Wykons varsity basketball and tennis coach and who also had Golfis in class during middle school. “She doesn’t know the word quit. And it shows in her achievements.”
After two years as a volleyball player, Golfis decided she’d rather play