As a 10-year-old, Warren followed in the footsteps of her mother, Laurell, a former twirler for the University of Michigan, and won the New Jersey Baton championship for her age group. In addition, after an active youth playing township recreation basketball and tee-ball, Warren entered high school and became a valuable contributor to the basketball team and, a year later, to the softball team.
Besides that whirlwind of extracurricular activity, Warren was tasked with handling a demanding schedule of classes and the homework that came with them. It was difficult at first, but she learned the importance of time management and attacked her studies with the same vigor as if she was defending a shooting guard or hitting a softball. The result is a 3.5 grade-point average and the likelihood Warren will receive a college scholarship to play basketball at the next level.
“My family has taught me I always need to prioritize the most important things in my life,” said Warren, who was named to the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) All- Red Division team last season. “It starts with school, then sports and finally my social life.”
Now that Warren is about to begin her final season playing hoops for East Brunswick, she is clearly enjoying her favorite time of year.
“I’ve played on the basketball team since I was a freshman,” said Warren, who has consistently averaged between seven and eight points a game as a guard-forward and said hoops is the sport she enjoys most. “I have a few schools in the Philadelphia area interested in me, and we’ll see where that goes. When I do make a college choice, I plan to major in criminal justice and hopefully attend law school after graduation.”
Warren has also been an important member of the Bears’ softball team as the starting first baseman since her sophomore year, but she admitted the sport takes a back seat to basketball. That’s also true with twirling for the Hazlet Thunderettes, which is more of a fun activity these days, she said.
Whatever sport she’s playing, Warren is all about team.
“I’ve learned that for any team to be successful, there has to be chemistry among the players,” she said. “That doesn’t mean everybody has to be best friends because we’re all different. But I personally try to be the kind of teammate I know I would want playing with me — someone who works hard, is dedicated, trustworthy and caring. Fortunately, I’ve played with girls who have demonstrated those traits and I’ve tried to emulate them. As a result, I feel I’m a better-rounded player.”
Warren confessed she seeks perfection in nearly everything she does, which is why she has been driven to succeed on and off the court. She also feels fortunate to have been surrounded by people who helped her along the way and named three individuals who have been most responsible for her success: Keith Lane, Orin Taylor and Richard Lewis. Lane is Warren’s high school basketball coach who has not only taught her some of the finer points of the game, but also how to be an effective leader.
“[Coach Lane] offered me so many opportunities during summer and fall workouts,” she said. “He taught me how to develop my skills and to lead by example — showing and not telling,” Warren said.
“Basketball is a 12-month-a-year sport for Allie, and it shows,” Lane said. “Her skills have improved markedly and being selected captain was well-earned.” Taylor coaches Team Miller Lightning, Warren’s AAU club where she has improved her skills even more by playing against other college-bound competition.
“I’ve played for [Coach Taylor] four years now; it seems a lot longer because I’ve learned so much,” she said. “He has spent hours with me after practice, taught me to never give up in any situation and develop the ‘IF’ factor, which is intestinal fortitude.”
Last but not least is Lewis, who is Warren’s grandfather. Grandpa, as she calls him, has never missed one of his granddaughter’s basketball or softball games and has been a steel-like source of strength.
“He played sports himself, so he understands what competition is about and has related his experiences to me,” Warren said. “My brother, Haydn (an East Brunswick graduate), plays football at Widener University, and Grandpa has worked with him, too. He would do anything for [us]. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without his love and help.”
Perhaps the most important message Warren has gleaned from Lane, Taylor and her grandfather is that dedication, hard work and love are the keys to success, no matter what she does.
It’s a mantra Warren plans to carry with her throughout the rest of her life — wherever that takes her.