By Mike Beas
Avon girls basketball player Nyla Lewis won’t soon forget how her team’s Senior Night played out earlier this season.
The same goes for everyone else in the gymnasium that night.
Lewis, a 5-foot-5 point guard, not only led the Orioles to a 58-42 victory over Plainfield with 13 points, five rebounds and five assists, but was part of the halftime entertainment.
Once the second quarter was over, Lewis changed clothes and returned to the court along with other members of the Avon Step Team.
She punctuated her part of the routine with a back-flip, returned to the locker room to change back into her basketball uniform and made it back out in time to start the second half.
A full night, to be sure.
Over the past 13 seasons, Avon girls basketball has had seven different coaches entrusted to preside over the program, the latest being Will Staal, who took the job prior to the 2021-2022 season.
Staal’s first Orioles squad finished with a 7-17 record.
His current ball club owned a 9-10 through mid-January, in large part because Lewis has been good for 12.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists a game.
Lewis’s season-high of 22 points came in a loss to Hamilton Southeastern; she was in double-figures for 12 of the first 19 games. Other season-bests were her six rebounds against Westfield, six assists against Tri-West and six steals in a 74-71 victory over Cathedral.
Asked what it is that Lewis most brings to the Orioles, Staal doesn’t pause.
“The better question might be what doesn’t she bring,” said Staal. “I really cannot think of Avon girls basketball without Nyla Lewis. I would not want to be an opposing coach and have to scout her. Nyla is extremely smart. A very good student.”
Lewis currently maintains a 3.7 grade point average.
The senior did a Q&A with ICON:
Q: In your four seasons on varsity, where do you feel you’ve made the most improvement as a player?
A: I feel like this has definitely been my turnaround year. The biggest thing isn’t so much about skill, but my confidence. My coaches, my family and my teammates have all helped me in that area.
Q: There’s a lot of young talent on this Avon team, so what kind of leadership is it you try to provide?
A: I just like to be everybody’s friend. I feel you really have to trust somebody to be able to play with them. It’s important because everybody needs somebody to help them, and I want to be there for them.
Q: What are your plans after graduating from Avon High School?
A: I want to be a pediatric surgeon. I’ve always been drawn to the health field, and have always liked little kids. I want to make the world a better place, and that’s the way I feel I can do it.