Looking Forward for Fertig

Allyson Fertig prepares to take a free throw shot on the court at Douglas High School. She first started playing basketball in fourth grade on a coed rec center team.

Allyson Fertig towers above much of the Bearcat competition on the hardwood. She is, by most standards, a standout – and not just because of her height, but more because of her athleticism, personal code of ethics and team leadership.

Her younger sister, Jilliyn, a freshman, also plays basketball, yet Allyson insists there is no sibling rivalry between the two of them.

Quite the opposite.

“I just want to be a role model for her,” Fertig said. It’s pretty obvious she is that, and more.

On Nov. 11, the DHS senior formally signed with the University of Wyoming to play Division 1 basketball there on scholarship, after verbally committing last year.

At 6’4,” Fertig, who plays center for the Cats, boasts a formidable presence on the court. Last season she averaged 22.25 points per game, 13.4 rebounds and 4.7 blocks, helping to lead the Lady Cats to a 24-1 record, losing only to Lynwood High School in Los Angeles.

But above all, Fertig just strives to be a good person, and it shows.

“My parents inspire me to work harder and to be a better person on and off the court everyday,” the National Honor Society member said.

At UW, “I want to prove myself and make my family proud,” she said.

The dual sport athlete (she is a stalwart on the DHS volleyball team, too) plans to major in mathematics at UW, which is also her father’s alma mater; it’s a place that feels like home to Fertig.

“Anywhere else I’d feel like a stranger,” she said, after turning down a rival offer from the University of Northern Colorado.

She already knows some of the players on the Wyoming Cowgirls team, like Paige Toomer and McKinley Bradshaw.

Joining them represents the culmination of years of hard work by Fertig, who first started playing basketball in fourth grade on a coed rec center team.

Some of her earliest memories of playing basketball come from local shooting competitions she participated in during that time, when she lived in Cody.

“I placed second one time and got a trophy. I believed that I was the coolest person in the world for awhile,” she said.

Douglas head girls coach Cody Helenbolt said he was particularly proud of Fertig’s development as an athlete over the course of her career at DHS.

Perhaps the biggest change, he said, “has been her growing confidence, particularly between her sophomore and junior years.”

He also praised her drive and continual desire to improve herself.

“Some kids are happy just being a ‘good’ player, but not her,” he said, also noting that Fertig is his first athlete to be accepted into a Division 1 program.

But even as she looks to the future at UW and beyond, Fertig has plenty going on now to keep her focused. The Douglas Lady Cats start practice later this month; their first game is scheduled at home against Casper’s Kelly Walsh High School on Dec. 11.

After this upcoming season, she’ll be matriculating to UW in what could still be uncertain times, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact daily life, the economy and sports across the country.

Fertig acknowledges the challenges posed by the virus.

“It is hard to know what the future will look like with the events that are taking place right now,” she said, “but I am ready to deal with covid restrictions.”

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