Bobcats standout says soccer is her top sport, but leads Y-A League in basketball scoring
- Northeastern's Jordyn Jennings considers soccer her primary sport.
- On the basketball court, however, she leads the York-Adams League in scoring.
- Jennings is averaging 17.0 points per game this season for the Bobcats.
MANCHESTER – The mood was bit somber when the Northeastern girls’ basketball team walked into practice on Wednesday evening.
After battling back from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit Tuesday against Susquehannock, the Bobcats ultimately fell in overtime by a point. That is one of three costly Northeastern losses this season by four points or fewer.
That setback definitely didn’t help the team’s aspirations of qualifying for the District 3 Class 5-A playoffs for the first time under coach Chuck Maxfield. The Bobcats sit at No. 20 in the power ratings and only the top 16 teams will make the field.
Still, things aren't all doom and gloom for the Bobcats (7-13 overall, 4-9 in York-Adams League Division II).
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The core of this year’s team is mainly juniors, who have helped the program take steps toward respectability after a 1-21 campaign as freshmen. The leader of that junior core is also the league’s top scorer this season in Jordyn Jennings, who is averaging a healthy 17.0 points per game.
Jennings sisters consider soccer their primary sport: The fact that Jennings is a standout on the hardwood is somewhat impressive considering that both Jordyn and her twin sister, Logan, are primarily soccer players.
Jordyn Jennings says her teammates are most responsible for her scoring prowess on the basketball court.
“Yeah, I honestly think it’s my teammates just getting me the ball when I’m open,” she said.
Jordyn only need look across the dinner table to Logan to find one of those teammates. As the team’s point guard, Logan Jennings is what they call the “A-sister” of the two.
“Yeah, she probably has a lot of assists from that,” Jordyn said. “She probably leads our team in that.”
Strong mental approach: Maxfield feels that the best attribute that Jordyn brings to the court is not necessarily her athletic ability, which is considerable. Instead, he credits her mental approach for really making the team go.
“She’s very patient,” Maxfield said. “She doesn’t try to force things. The other night we played against Dover and they played a box-and-one against her and that’s something that we really haven’t seen at all. So I just told her to be patient and set screens for someone else. And the fact that she’s patient enough to go and set those screens for her teammates says a lot.”
Jordyn scored a season-high 30 points in the first contest against the Eagles back on Jan. 3, but still led the Bobcats in scoring with 17 points in the second meeting despite playing against a so-called "junk" defense.
“She got most of her points just crashing the boards,” Maxfield said. “She just adjusted to that well.”
No AAU ball: While most of the top standouts in high school basketball participate in the sport at least half of the year, Jordyn is unique in that she does not.
“I don’t play AAU or anything like that,” Jordyn said. “Just high school.”
Some of the habits from all of those years playing soccer sometimes pop up in practice and in games, according to Maxfield. The transition from playing with your feet to playing with your hands is not an easy one.
“Sometimes I’ll see them looking down a little too much,” he said. “In soccer, that makes sense because you’re playing with your feet, but in basketball you need to have your head up.”
The fact that Jordyn Jennings leads the Y-A in scoring in basketball is somewhat ironic based on her position on the soccer field. As a defender, the Bobcat standout is more focused on preventing scoring than finding the goal herself.
“She’s our center-back,” Logan Jennings said. “And I’m the center-mid, which is kind of like my same role in basketball.”
Not driven by personal stats: Both Jennings sisters have one trait from playing soccer that has served them well during basketball season. Neither sister is especially keen on achieving personal success in the stat column just to drive up their respective numbers.
“It’s all about the team,” Jordyn said. “And I think that we’re learning and meshing more this year and hopefully that makes us even stronger next year.”
That certainly plays into the theme that Maxfield has been preaching these past two years.
“Our motto is ‘one family, one mission,’” Maxfield said. “And we definitely have a cohesion this year that we didn’t have when I took over. Our numbers were really low when I took over and they played a lot as freshmen and they kind of got acclimated to the varsity game. So we’ve definitely grown.”
Moving to D-I: Next year doesn’t figure to get much easier for the Bobcats, who along with Dover will move up to Division I. Trading games against strong rivals such as West York, Gettysburg, Eastern York and York Suburban for games against bigger teams such as Dallastown, Red Lion, Central York and Spring Grove is like trading one gauntlet for another one just like it.
“Just when I started learning all the teams down here (in D-II), we’re going to move up and have to learn against new teams next year,” Maxfield said.
The experience of playing in tough battles, day-in and day-out, in D-II these past two years figures to pay dividends when the Bobcats look to compete in D-I next year.
For Maxfield, that’s actually a bit of blessing.
“The good thing is that most of those teams won’t know us either,” he said. “It’ll certainly be a learning experience.”
The Bobcats did play one game against a D-I team already this season in backyard rival Central York, who just happens to sit atop the D-I standings. While the Panthers did earn the victory, Maxfield’s team gave the CY girls a bit of a scare before falling 50-43.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.