Matteah Felix has had to overcome a lot these past two years. An injury, Covid-19, missing out on postseason basketball twice.
For all of the lows she’s been though, however, there have been far more highs. The highest of which came on Friday at Monroe Catholic.
Felix, a 2021 Monroe graduate, signed her letter of intent to play basketball for Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Washington Friday afternoon. She’s the second girl’s basketball player to sign with Columbia Basin this year.
“It’s super exciting,” Felix said. “To get to play college ball with my good friend that I’ve known for a really long time. It’s just really exciting.”
That good friend would be the other Fairbanksan to sign with Columbia Basin this year: Ali May of West Valley, who signed her LOI on May 5. The pair were teammates at West Valley before Felix transfered to Monroe after her sophomore year.
While it’s the beginning of a new journey for Felix, it’s the end of another one that’s been filled with good memories. Felix was named All-Conference the past two years for the Lady Rams and was a member of this year’s State Tournament team, the first Monroe girl’s team to qualify for state since 2011. To that end, her journey has been quite joyous and successful.
It wasn’t always easy, though. The Regional and State Tournament’s were canceled her junior year due to the pandemic and she missed the end of the regular season and Regional Tournament this year due to an ankle injury. She would’ve been healthy enough to play in the state tournament, but her family received a Covid-19 diagnosis just before the tournament began forcing her to remain home. The Lady Rams ultimately advanced to the state semi-finals.
Still, none of that stopped Felix from being a vocal leader, an outstanding player on the court, and now a collegiate basketball player. One of the most memorable moments of her career came on Senior Night against Valdez. Her injury was not fully healed yet, but head coach Bob Burcell wanted to get her one last chance to score in a game, particularly on senior night. The game plan was for her to hang out under the basket, wait for the ball, and just lay it in. Felix agreed to the plan, went in, and scored the first basket of the game.
“She could barely walk and still put it in,” Burcell said. “If I told that game plan to most players they’d probably say, ‘oh my foot hurts’ or ‘I don’t want to risk it.’ I give that plan to Matteah she just goes, ‘OK.’ That kind of attitude, determination and work ethic is the kind of thing that makes her so special.”
Felix may be heading off on her own now, but she wanted to leave one last message for those who want to follow in her footsteps.
“Don’t expect thanks or gratitude to just be handed to you,” she said. “Just keep pushing and all of the hard work will pay off. It will.”
Contact sports reporter Hart Pisani at 459-7530 or follow him at twitter.com/FDNMSports.