As she winds down her basketball career at La Costa Canyon High, senior Alexis Machain traces the beginning of her interest in the sport back long before she became a Maverick.
It goes back to her physical education class at Diegueno Middle School.
Machain’s PE teacher was John Farrell, who was the girls basketball coach at La Costa Canyon at the time.
“I couldn’t wait to play at LCC,” Machain said. “Coach Farrell always talked about how the team was doing.”
Nothing has changed since Machain showed up on campus.
She loves basketball even more, and the Mavericks are still winning.
La Costa Canyon is trying to cap a decade of dominance in the Avocado West League by winning a 10th consecutive league championship.
In three seasons with the Mavericks, Machain has done her part in adding to the legacy with leadership on the court.
“We have to keep the streak going,” the 5-foot-7 point guard said. “When I got here as a freshman I was trying to learn as much as I could.
“I loved playing and I just wanted to prove to my older teammates that I belonged.”
During Machain’s tenure at LCC, the Mavericks have lost one league game and posted overall records of 23-10 (2015-16), 25-6 (2016-17) and 23-7 (2017-18).
This season, the Mavs are off to a 6-4 start.
Machain has not scaled back on her preparation.
She still works as hard as she did when first hearing stories about the program back in middle school when, as she said, she became a gym rat.
“It started off with me and my dad (Christian) going to the park and shooting around, just the two of us,” Machain said. “After we started going to the gym every day, it just became a routine.
“You only need a ball and a hoop to work on your game. Sometimes, you don’t even need the hoop to do that.”
An open gym is an invitation to shoot around, to work on her game.
Or to take advantage of the weight room to get physically stronger.
“I’ll walk into the gym at 5:30 a.m. to lift some weights and Alexis is already there,” said first-year Mavericks coach Caitlin Eichlin. “She’s a constant worker.
“She is doing everything she can think of to win games.”
Machain’s training regimen has included 4:30 a.m. starts for something she hated at first — a quick drive to the gym by mom.
After a month, Machain looked forward to those early morning workouts with her dad and cousin.
Some days the training involved cardiovascular work. Other times, it was to add strength.
Born in Encinitas, Machain has committed to play college basketball at University of Redlands, near San Bernardino.
“It’s a good school away from home but close enough to go home for a quick visit with my laundry,” she said. “I really want to find a new passion for life after basketball.
“It will be very strange to see myself other than at LCC. Being there during the important years where I learned how to go from being a little kid to being an adult capable of living in the real world, making my own decisions.
“I guess we’ll see shortly how well LCC prepared me.”
Normally, Machain does not venture out of her basketball comfort zone except on rare occasions.
“Once during a travel ball trip to Oregon, I walked through a water fall,” Machain said. “The water was freezing cold swimming up to the water fall.
“I thought I would drown it hurt so much.”
Another time, Machain, who said she has a fear of drowning, jumped off a cliff into a lake.
“I just want to challenge myself now and then,” she said. “Not every day, just now and then.”
Back before she was regaled with stories of older girls wearing the Mavericks uniform, Machain spent more time playing with dolls.
“I was a girly-girl playing with my Barbies,” she said.
“Dad asked me what sport I wanted to play and my other siblings all played soccer, so I picked basketball.”
Machain acknowledged the conversion was so complete that she gave away all her old Barbie dolls.
But she still has basketball.