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Lister helped Tigers to milestone wins

As a kid, Ali Lister loved all sports. Her favorite sport was whatever season that it happened to be time to play.

Somewhere around eighth grade she started to realize all the nuances that went into basketball and the sport emerged as her favorite to play. Her love for all sports led her to play three varsity sports in her senior season and her particular focus on basketball led her to a scholarship to Adelphi University in Garden City, New York.

Lister comes from a sports family. Her younger sister Danielle played alongside her in field hockey, basketball and lacrosse while her older sister Leighanna is a junior playing basketball at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, NJ.

Coincidentally, Adelphi travels to New Jersey to play the Lady Lions late in November and will put the two sisters back on the court together, but this time on opposing sides.

“We had one season together in high school and it was fun to play together that season, but this is going to be different playing against her,” said Ali Lister, who will major in communication disorders and sciences at Adelphi. “It’s much better to play with her than against her, so that’s going to be interesting.”

A highlight of Ali Lister’s high school career came this past season when the basketball team won the Colonial League championship and with the victory picked up the 300th career win for head coach Chris Deutsch.

“I remember walking in, and fans weren’t allowed but there was this whole row of TV cameras set up and media sitting all around the court,” said Ali Lister. “It was so different from anything that I had ever experienced, and I must admit that it made me a little nervous. To not only win the league championship but to get coach’s 300th win was really amazing. It was great to be a part of those things. We all wanted to not only win that game to be league champions but, we also wanted to get that 300th win.”

While the basketball program has a long and successful history at Northwestern Lehigh, Lister was also a part of the beginning of the school’s lacrosse program.

The school started lacrosse in the spring of 2019 and the girls team went winless in its first season before the 2020 season was wiped out by the pandemic. This season, the Tigers celebrated their first ever girls lacrosse win in the season opener at Bethlehem Catholic. For Lister, lacrosse was much different from her time on the basketball court.

“It was kind of weird because it was the first time I had ever played lacrosse, so I had a lot to learn,” Ali Lister said. “I just came in looking to do what I could do to help the team and listen to the coaches and pick up what they were telling me. I learned that team leadership comes in different ways, and I felt the best thing I could do in lacrosse was to work hard and do what the coaches were looking for me to do. I left the more vocal leadership up to the other seniors.”

As for the skills that high school sports helped Lister to acquire, she lists leadership and team building at the top of the list.

“Leadership can be being vocal, which is more how I played basketball, or just playing hard and leading while you’re on the court or the field, she said. “To make a good team, you have to know how to adjust and what you can do to build good chemistry and I learned a lot about that during high school.”

Having played through the pandemic, Lister is part of a group of students across the country that will have stories to tell about sports in the age of COVID. Perhaps one of the scariest parts of her days in high school came at the end of a basketball practice when Northwestern Lehigh athletic director Jason Zimmerman walked into the gym after the team’s last practice before the 2020-21 season opener against Executive Academy.

“I think we all knew that it wasn’t a good sign for him to come in,” Lister said. “There were a lot of rumors about whether we would have the season canceled or something and I think we were all expecting the worst. That’s when he told us that the season was being pushed back for three weeks. We were disappointed, but really, it was good news because it was only a delay and not that the season was canceled.”

Lister finished her senior season averaging just under 11 points per game, good enough for second on the team behind Paige Sevrain.