By Gianna Addario
---- — Lexie Nason has her sights set on moving upward after high school.
In fact, she’s looking 115 miles upward as she plans on attending Bates College in Lewiston, Maine in the fall.
The Masconomet senior has had her fair share of visits up to Bates, where her older sister Chelsea — a former Chieftains’ hoop standout herself — now attends.
“I ultimately decided on Bates because I found that it would be the best fit for me academically as well as athletically,” said Nason, who has plans to join her older sister on the Bobcat team. “I was also very familiar with the campus because my sister is a sophomore there and I did a few overnights with her and I absolutely fell in love with the campus and the school in general.”
Nason, a 5-foot-9 forward, excelled as a post player under Masco head coach Bob Romeo over the past two seasons. She captained the Chieftains this past season and helped them to a spot in the Division 1 North semifinals against tournament rival Central Catholic.
The 18-year-old Boxford native was second on the team in rebounds (6.7 per game) this winter as the Chieftains went a perfect 17-0 in the Cape Ann League.
Nason had an opportunity to talk and meet with Bobcats head coach Jim Murphy, who’s coached at Bates since 1994.
“I got a chance to see Lexie play,” noted Murphy. “She is a relentless rebounder, which is an area where we have to improve. What Lex and Chelsea have in common is an indefatigable work ethic and a burning desire to improve and to help the team be successful.”
This year the Bobcats finished 8-16 with the elder Nason starting all 24 of the games.
Basketball was the natural choice for Lexie, who also led the Masco girls soccer team — as a goalie — to a Div. 1 North semifinal game against Newton North.
“I decided on basketball because it’s been a huge part of my life for the past seven years and after the realization that I was in my final year of high school ball, I came to the conclusion that I was not ready to give up basketball,” explained Nason. “I love the sport and the competitive nature of it, and I think basketball helps me stay more organized during the school year and I think that will be helpful next year at college.”
Nason plans on taking the spring season off from sports to focus on basketball and putting academics first before graduation in early June. Coach Murphy is also sending Nason a workout schedule to help prepare her for the jump between high school and college ball.
Nason also checked out Connecticut College, Providence College, The College of the Holy Cross, Bentley University and Stonehill College, but ultimately felt that Bates was the perfect fit.
The Division 3 NESCAC school seems to be an ideal place for a lot of local athletes in the area. Marblehead senior guard Emily Freedland is also heading to Bates to play basketball, while her older brother Josh Freedland plays on the football team and former Hamilton-Wenham standout Trevor Lyons also calls Bates home.