For as long as Lexi Tubbs can remember, basketball has been part of her life.
“There are lots of pictures of me in my crib that’s set up at midcourt at the gym,” said Tubbs, the daughter of Michael Tubbs and the former Kellie Floyd, who were standouts for Cal State Stanislaus in the early 90s. “Basketball’s in my genes.”
That might be the case for many of the players at Modesto Christian High School, a basketball powerhouse that won its sixth Sac-Joaquin Section banner, third Northern California title and first state championship last month thanks, in great part, to Tubbs.
The 5-foot-10 guard averaged a team-high 16.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, but more important, she offered a calming presence and leadership by example for the Division 3 champs.
For her performance this season, Tubbs has been named The Bee’s Stanislaus District Player of the Year.
Tubbs seemed to know early that this would be a special season. In a YouTube video produced by the Central Valley Sports Report, Tubbs, along with teammate Jasmine Hampton, call their shot, predicting that the Crusaders would end their season with a state title at Sacramento’s Sleep Train Arena (though she refers to it by its longtime former name, Arco Arena, in the video).
That prediction didn’t look too likely early in the season, when the Crusaders got off to an 0-5 start.
“We weren’t really cool with it,” Tubbs said of the sluggish beginning. “But we knew we were playing some of the best teams out there.
“You guys wrote about Robb (Spencer) being the happiest coach out there with an 0-5 record.”
Spencer wasn’t actually happy to be winless after the La Jolla Country Day Sweet 16 tournament, but his team was competitive against some of the best teams the state had to offer – eventual D1 state champ Canyon Springs, D1 SoCal runner-up Alemany, D2 NorCal champ Archbishop Mitty (San Jose), and Open Division regional qualifier Bishop’s (La Jolla). His team came back from that tournament 0-4 and faced area rival St. Mary’s (Stockton), which also went on to qualify for the Open Division regional tournament.
Tubbs was a calming presence through it all.
“Lexi always has a smile on her face,” said Spencer. “Her demeanor never changes. She’s Tim Duncan-like in that regard. Whether things are going good or bad, she just goes out and plays.”
She may not be the best player ever to put on an MC uniform, but she’s among the first to win a state title and that’s a legacy with which she’s quite happy.
“I like the respect you get that comes with winning a state title,” said Tubbs. “People sort of look up to you, like my little sister and her friends. Everybody kinda knows about it it’s the buzz.”
Tubbs got a taste of the big time as a freshman, when she was called up to the varsity for the team’s playoff push. Though she mostly rode the pine, she joined 2010 Player of the Year Brandi Henton, 2011 Player of the Year Charise Holloway and 2012 Player of the Year Valerie Moore during their run to the 2010 section banner.
“I definitely knew I wanted to get back to Arco,” Tubbs said of the Sacramento venue now known as Sleep Train Arena. “I knew I wanted to be part of the tradition and excellence.
“I saw visions of a state title as a freshman. Robb would say, ‘We have all the pieces, it’s just a matter of making them fit together.’ ”
If Tubbs had dreams of one day winning a state title, she thought the dream had passed her by.
“Realistically, last year was the team I thought might do it,” said Tubbs. “This was the team I least expected to do it because we were so young.”
But the Crusaders had the right people in leadership roles – Tubbs being one of them. In fact, a few seasons ago, she actually coached some of the freshmen players who were her teammates this season.
“It was during that loss to St. Mary’s where I realized that we were a real team and that we could do something,” Tubbs said.
Tubbs will play next season at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho, and thinks she’d like to major in business, though she’ll enter school with an undeclared major.
“I’m not sure what I want to do but I know I want to be a boss,” said Tubbs. “I want to run stuff and tell people what to do.”
Just call it a perk of being the best player on the best Division 3 team in the state.