GATE CITY, Va. (WJHL) – Gate City senior Lexi Ervin has grown up in a family that fosters her love for basketball because everyone else has already played it.

“My dad, my uncle, my grandfather, my cousins – everybody,” she said.

From the beginning, her family taught her more than just a love for the game.

“Just seeing them succeed with their careers kind of motivated me to try to see how far I can get and motivated me to work harder,” Ervin said.

Her exposure to the game and her family members’ hard work has always slowed things down for her on the court.

“I feel like I have a good mind for it just because I’ve grown up around it,” she said. “So, kind of just how it flows for me.”

But make no mistake, she worked hard to play for the Lady Blue Devils varsity squad in all four years of her high school career. And pretty soon, that squad started to feel like more than a group of teammates.

“It’s an experience like no other – we’re really a family here,” she said. “We treat each other like family and we take pride in making each other better every single day and I think that’s very important.”

This past winter, Ervin’s senior season, the squad found great success on the court. They won a Region D championship and a state quarterfinal game – before falling to district foe Wise Central in the Class 2 state semifinals.

Still, Ervin was proud of the way the team carried itself throughout the year.

“The mentality of never giving up and pushing ourselves to know our limits to help us grow to our fullest potential and especially that family aspect that we have around each other,” she said.

Ervin found that same emphasis on family with the volleyball program, as she returned to the sport as a junior.

“After my sophomore year I just realized that – I only have two more years left to play and I really miss it, so I decided to pick it back up,” she explained.

The decision to play both volleyball and softball turned out to be a slam dunk.

“It was a lot of fun – it kind of has the same type of feel in that we keep each other accountable and work hard,” she said.

When Ervin isn’t competing on the court she’s serving as a senior class officer and volunteering as part of the school’s Interact club.

“I’ve always like helping people – usually when you help people it makes them happy and I like to be able to smile,” she ginned.

Ervin will continue her academic and basketball career at Milligan University this fall.

“It’s that competitive thing for me,” she said. “It’s just one of those things you’re going into at a completely different level, so you’re going to have to work extra hard and I’m excited for that.”