By Ryan Ding and Jeffrey Heng, Staff Reporters Ryann Jennings dribbles up the court and makes an easy layup. Swish! Conestoga is now up 2-0. The freshman starting shooting guard is quickly becoming an integral part of the girls’ varsity basketball team. Since fourth grade, Jennings has played AAU for the COMETS, a girls’ basketball...
By Ryan Ding and Jeffrey Heng, Staff Reporters
Ryann Jennings dribbles up the court and makes an easy layup. Swish! Conestoga is now up 2-0.
The freshman starting shooting guard is quickly becoming an integral part of the girls’ varsity basketball team. Since fourth grade, Jennings has played AAU for the COMETS, a girls’ basketball club that sharpened her skills and enabled exposure to college national events. Because of an empty spot on the point guard position, her arrival on the team was anticipated.
“Coming in as a freshman, I felt like I had to step up, and I was scared to not be good,” Jennings said.
A major part of Jennings’ success has been her work ethic. She trains every day on a regular basis, either working on her shooting or playing practice games.
“On weekdays I have school practice for 2 hours. Then I go and shoot and play more basketball after,” Jennings said. “On weekends, I go and play outside and work on shooting.”
This season has presented a few roadblocks for the girls’ basketball team. With fewer players, a limited number of substitutes and an altered roster, the team has been forced to adapt their strategy.
“Kate was a really good defensive force and got a lot of steals and fast break opportunities, which is where we scored a lot of points,” said junior Marisa Francione, point guard and team captain.
Due to the new changes, the team wasn’t able to push the ball as fast this year. To combat this, Jennings and the half-court offense have stepped up, utilizing picks and screens to set up better shots. Turnovers brought by steals from the defense have also contributed to the team’s success.
“I (always) hustle on defense and try hard to influence the team,” Jennings said.
To help Jennings adjust to the team, the girls participated in various team bonding activities, including breakfasts and dinners together as well as hanging out in the locker room. The 5’11” point guard already made a significant impact in the team’s game against Ridley, accumulating 15 points, eight rebounds, four steals, and earning the Big C award. The award, which is worn in the form of a necklace, goes to a player of the coach’s choosing based on their contributions in the game.
The team hopes to win the coveted Central League title. In recent years, the girls’ varsity basketball team has earned itself a strong reputation, and despite a hard-fought loss against Haverford the team remains optimistic about their chances.
Jennings’ proficiency has proved to be more than just the cherry on top for the girls’ basketball team. Her use of awareness and movement has allowed the freshman to pivot the ball throughout the court. For the Pioneers, she has become a fundamental part in claiming many possessions over the ball in order to bring the team to victory. Despite having to face a mentally tough pursuit, the athlete continues to persist throughout her ambitions with a compelling mindset. When asked about Jennings’ role in achieving this goal, Francione had several compliments for her teammate’s skills.
“She’s a great three-point shooter. She’s knocked down several key shots for us in the past couple of games, is a really good rebounder, and puts a lot of effort in,” Francione said. “I think she’s a great addition to our team.”
Jeffrey Heng can be reached at [email protected]
Ryan Ding can be reached at [email protected]
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