Caston gymnast Finke also starts on semistate hoops team

Feb. 17—Caston senior Alexa Finke has had quite a balancing act during her high school athletic career.

She's the first-ever gymnast to compete for Caston High School. She also happens to be a starter for the Lady Comets' semistate girls basketball team.

She also started on the semistate softball team last spring. Oh, and her best sport is probably volleyball, as she was a first-team All-Loganland team selection this past fall.

Finke, the daughter of Matthew and Renell Finke of Kewanna, is a four-sport varsity athlete accomplishing a rare gymnastics/girls basketball double this winter.

"It's really just a balancing game and thank goodness I've got my mom because she manages my schedule so well for me," Finke said. "I try my best to split up between the weeks. I usually do three nights of basketball, two nights of gymnastics or it just really depends on the amount of games I have. I like to be at practice before basketball games, so sometimes it can be one gymnastics practice, it just varies honestly."

Caston has had gymnasts before but Finke is the first to compete for the high school team for the Comets. She practices and competes alongside Logansport at the LHS facility, the barn, located in between the baseball and softball fields at the LHS campus.

Finke's gymnastics coach at Caston is her mother, Renell.

Finke was honored for senior night during Wednesday's meet alongside Logansport's lone senior gymnast, Jaelyn Benish. Caston and Logansport hosted Harrison, McCutcheon and Lafayette Faith Christian.

Finke placed fourth in her best event, vault, with an 8.3. She placed 11th in the all-around (29.6), 12th on both bars (6.025) and beam (7.925) and had a 7.35 on floor.

"I am very proud of how I did tonight," she said. "I thought I had a good night compared to my past few meets. Bittersweet to be a senior for my last home meet but I'm happy for this to be done so I can start a new journey in my life."

Her senior basketball teammates were in attendance for her gymnastics senior night. Those teammates were the reason she decided to play basketball again this winter.

She didn't play basketball last season because she made a top volleyball club team in Fort Wayne. But she decided to play basketball again this season and Caston coach Josh Douglass is happy that she made that decision.

"I was so glad that she came back out this year. I heard rumors she was going to and she was walking through the gym one day and I said, 'Hey, I heard a rumor you're coming back out.' She looked out and she smiled and she said, 'Yep, ready for a comeback.' I said, 'Good, because we're ready to have you back,'" Douglass said.

She's a role player for the Lady Comet basketball team and has just 29 points in 21 games played. But she's one of the tallest Comets at 5-foot-8 and provides an important role as a versatile athlete.

"She does a lot for us that doesn't show up on the stat sheet," Douglass said. "She's so quick for us on the defensive side, she plugs a lot of things up for us. She's so long and athletic, she gets her hands on balls, deflects balls, rebounds. She's a big key to our defense. She talks, she has such a positive attitude, always has a smile on her face. You need those type of kids to help balance your team out. That's what she does, she helps balance us out. She's not one that's necessarily looking for her shot or thinks she needs to score a lot of points. She's very unselfish and just plays a role awesome on the team."

Douglass added some of Finke's qualities that make her a good gymnast also help her on the basketball court.

"That's probably where she gets that quick jump. She hits the floor and she's back up so quick, you can't teach that," he said. "We were ecstatic, we were really happy when she decided to come back this year because we knew she'd help us tremendously, and she has."

Finke has enjoyed her return to basketball.

"I consider my main role probably defense. I try my best to be kind of a wall down there and get more stops defensively," she said. "And offensively a screen setter, just a role player doing what I need to do to help my team win."

If Caston can win a semistate championship on Saturday, the State Finals will fall on the same day as the Lafayette Jeff gymnastics sectional, so Finke would miss the gymnastics sectional.

"Selfishly, I hope this is my last meet," she said Wednesday. "I really want to win this weekend. I want to go to state again this year."

No. 7 Caston (22-3) plays No. 5 Michigan City Marquette (22-4) at noon Saturday at the Class A Frankfort Semistate. No. 2 Clinton Central (24-1) plays Union City (14-12) in the 10 a.m. semifinal. The final is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday night.

"I'm very optimistic about this weekend," Finke said. "I think it's going to be a great weekend for us. We've just been performing insanely good and we've got a good history at Frankfort. I'm just hoping to keep this train rolling and hopefully we'll come out victorious."

Caston won a semistate softball title at Frankfort last spring. Finke was the Lady Comets' starting right fielder and she was also versatile at the plate, as she's one of the best bunters on the team while at the same time she can slug the ball.