The Lewis family has always been fascinated with sports. Now, parents Eugene and Amy have two NCAA Division 1 athletes perfecting their craft at the next level.
The Wyoming Valley is familiar with Geno Lewis, the standout wide receiver at Penn State. Over the past several years, the Valley has welcomed a new Lewis to the fold.
Alexis Lewis, a 2015 Holy Redeemer graduate, is currently a key factor in the Iona College women’s basketball team. The Lewis family currently lives on Parsonage Street in Pittston.
“It’s been great,” Alexis said. “I’m getting playing time and we have a great team. We’re all playing really well and I enjoy it a lot.”
Alexis was having a solid year for the Gaels throughout the early portion of her freshman season. But it wasn’t until recently that she began to feel it at the Division 1 level.
For her efforts against Rutgers and North Texas in the second week of December, Lewis was named the Metro Atlantic Conference Rookie of the Week.
Lewis scored a game- and career-high 22 points to give Iona a 62-51 non-conference win against North Texas on Dec. 13. She was 9-for-11 from the floor, including a perfect 4-for-4 mark from the three-point line. In the first half of that game, Lewis had 14 points in just 12 minutes of play.
Against Rutgers on Dec. 9, in just 10 minutes of play, Lewis scored two points.
“We were coming off such a tough loss against Rutgers,” Alexis said. “It was a great feeling and we came ready to play. I wanted to make sure I did everything I could to help us win (against North Texas).”
On Dec. 15, Alexis was also named Iona College’s Female Student-Athlete of the Week. She’s averaging just shy of 10 points and four rebounds per game for the 5-6 Gaels. She’s currently fourth on the team in scoring.
Alexis’ stats from Holy Redeemer are eye-popping. In her senior season, she led the Royals to a 26-3 record and a trip to the Class AA state semifinals. She scored 20 or more points in 25 games and scored a combined 93 points through four state playoff games.
During Redeemer’s PIAA Class 2A playoff opener, she broke the conference’s scoring record and finished her four-year career with 2,393 points. She finished her senior season averaging 27.1 points and 15 rebounds per game.
Obviously, Alexis’ numbers have dipped this season. The transition to Division 1 straight from high school was not an easy one, she said.
“It was a huge process,” she said. “The pace of the game is quicker and you always have to be ready to go, no matter what.”
While playing for the Royals, Alexis was the leader and team captain. For her freshman season at Iona, she’s had to take a back seat to veteran players. It was difficult at first, she said, but the key is to be open-minded throughout the process.
“It really opens your eyes,” she said. “I was always used to leading everyone. Coming in as a freshman, you have to learn and be willing to listen to anything they say.”
Geno Lewis is currently getting ready to take on the University of Georgia in the Taxslayer Bowl on Jan. 2. While at Penn State, Lewis has had some big games but this season has been a tough one for the junior. In his sophomore season, however, Geno caught 55 passes for 751 yards and two touchdowns.
His production may have dipped a bit this season, but Geno is one of the main reasons Alexis has been able to get through the Division 1 athletic experience.
The two siblings talk to each other as much as they can. Prior to accepting her full scholarship to Iona, Alexis said Geno had a talk with her.
“He told me what it takes to be a Division 1 athlete,” she said. “He made sure to let me know what I had to do to keep my head focused. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have been prepared for this. I couldn’t do it without him.”
The Lewis family has attended several of Alexis’ games this season, including the home opener. Including Geno, Alexis has four siblings: Emmanuel, Helen and Angel. Alexis’ father, Pastor Eugene Lewis, was drafted in the 1989 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz.
“They have been there with me the whole time,” Alexis said of her family. “My parents made it up to the first home game. They support me and I talk to them after every game. That helps me keep myself together with school. I couldn’t thank them enough and I’m blessed to have a family like I do.”
Iona will get back to work with a noon tip Dec. 20 vs. George Washington in Washington, DC.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick