Alissa Pili: two-time MaxPreps Female Athlete of the Year

Anchorage local and Dimond High School graduate, Alissa Pili, is the second person in history to become a two-time MaxPreps Female Athlete of the Year. The only previous athlete to be awarded twice was five-time gold medalist Missy Franklin during her time in high school. 

In addition, Pili has been awarded Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year in basketball for the past four years.

Alissa Pili shines as an award-winning athlete from Anchorage, Alaska. Photo courtesy of Scott Minor.

Pili has been one of the most successful athletes in Alaska, going as far back as middle school. 

“I started to get recruited pretty early, maybe even seventh or eighth grade, because I was traveling and going down to competitions in the lower 48. But it definitely wasn’t as heavy as the recruiting that I have experience in high school,” Pili said. “I never did anything to get ranked, but I always tried my best to show off to the coaches who would be watching at all these competitions.”

Long before that, Pili was active in everything from football to volleyball to basketball. Athleticism runs in her family, she explained, with both her father and brother being football players. 

“I used to even play tackle football when I was younger. My dad was a football player. It was the first sport my brother played so growing up watching him, I told my dad I wanted to play, so he signed me up in third grade,” Pili said.

Slowly, Pili began to pick up other sports and excel at everything she did, including winning 13 state championships during her time at Dimond High School. 

- Advertisement -

Included in her state titles are two in basketball, four in volleyball, four in shot-put, two in discus throwing and one in wrestling. All her state titles were at the 4A level. 

Most recently, Pili recalled how winning the basketball state championship during her senior year was one of her most memorable achievements. 

“We were definitely the underdogs going in, but we were able to show everyone how hard we worked and how we came back as a team, so that felt really good. We knew how we had to adjust, and we did it well,” Pili said.

After her team’s championship win in basketball, Pili finished off her high school athletics career with two wins in track and field, one in each discus and shot-put. This was her fourth state title in shot-put, breaking the school record in the process with a throw of 42 feet, 9.25 inches.

“This year I have had some good competition, and although I enjoy basketball and volleyball more, I still have a fun time competing in track,” Pili said. 

As for volleyball, Pili has impressive stats. During her high school career, she tallied 463 kills in the 102 sets she played, for an average of 4.5 kills per set. She also had a 50% kill average, 38% hitting average and 90% serve average. 

Despite her high percent averages in volleyball, however, Pili explained that basketball is her true love. It’s the sport she enjoys the most. It’s the sport she wants to improve. It’s the sport that got her a full-ride scholarship to the University of Southern California, or USC. 

“Basketball is the only sport I will work on outside of the season, but while I am in-season [with my other sports], I will be dedicated to it and to perform the best I can,” Pili said. 

Although Pili is exceptionally prepared to play college basketball, she explained that she is excited to be a one-sport athlete and have all her athletic focus on basketball. In addition, she will have the support of her other brother, Brandon Pili, who is a junior playing football for USC.

Pili explained that she and her brother were practically inseparable while growing up. 

“Right when I found out that USC was interested and I realized I could go to school with my brother, I knew that is really where I wanted to go,” Pili said.

Pili has already departed for USC, taking one class on-campus this summer. However, she will not compete in basketball until the season starts in November. In the meantime, she will train with her team.