December 18, 2013

Whit 2K

Jennings goes over 2,000 points for career as Berries beat Harrison

By Beau Wicker Pharos-Tribune

---- — WEST LAFAYETTE — Logansport’s Whitney Jennings has seen just about every defensive setup imaginable by opponents in an effort to somehow slow her down.

So when she faces man-to-man defense like she did Tuesday at Harrison, her eyes light up like a Christmas tree.

Jennings lit up the Raiders for 39 points in the Class 4A No. 6 Berries’ 59-45 win on the road Tuesday night.

“Man-to-man, when teams do that, I try to attack as best as I can,” she said.

Jennings went over the 2,000-point scoring mark for her career during the win and now 2,022 points. Only 27 players have reached the 2,000-point mark in Indiana high school girls basketball. Jennings is currently the 24th all-time leading scorer in the state.

Nakeya Penny added 17 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks and one steal against Harrison despite playing just 24 minutes while battling foul trouble.

But the only other Berry to reach the scoring column was Samantha Kain, who had three points, three boards and a block in 15 minutes of action.

Logan coach Jerry Hoover said he doesn’t think he’s ever coached a game where only three of his players scored.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever had a game like that. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game like that,” he said. “We need to get a little more balance in there, but we’re in situations where that’s the way it is. As we go along we’ll try to get balance, but you don’t wish balance, you just have young players that are just going to have to grow with the team.”

Jennings was 16 of 31 from the field, Penny was 7 of 16 and Kain was 1 of 1. The rest of the team was 0 of 8.

Jennings scored 25 of her 39 in the first half to help the Berries (7-0) out to a 33-27 lead at the break. Harrison (3-8) hit 4 of 6 3-pointers in the half to keep it close.

Jennings had 35 points after three quarters and the Berries led 45-37 entering the fourth.

Penny scored 10 of her 17 in the fourth. Her 3-pointer with 5:40 remaining made it a 53-37 game. She later made back-to-back runners for Logan, the second of which made it a 57-43 game with 1:20 left.

“I really was pleased with the way Penny played. I thought she did a great job on the boards,” Hoover said. “I thought she really played as well as she’s played all year. She really rebounded tonight. See, we saw this out of her this summer. You’re starting to see it again, I hope.

“Whitney of course played very well. Let’s face it, she’s 14-for-27 from 2, 2-for-4 from 3 and 5-for-9 from the line. And she had a bad night from the line. With those kind of numbers, who do you want shooting? If you’re me, who do you want shooting? Who’s got to score for you?”

Jennings would be a good answer, as the Miss Basketball candidate is scoring a state-best 34.9 ppg through the first seven contests. She added eight steals, six rebounds and two steals and didn’t have a single turnover in the win over Harrison.

Harrison shot 5 of 10 from 3-point range in the contest led by Autumn Ringen’s 4 of 9 effort. The Raiders also outrebounded the Berries 43-25 for the game, and Claire Muller finished with a double-double of 16 points and 16 boards. Ringen had 12 points and eight boards, and Shailen Johnson added seven points and five rebounds.

But the Berries forced 22 turnovers while committing just five and shot 24 of 56 from the field overall (42.9 percent) compared to Harrison’s 14 of 38 (36.8 percent).

“It was just one of those grind-out victories. You’ll have those sometimes,” Jennings said. “We don’t have the offensive power that we did last year so we’re going to have a lot more games like this where we’re going to have to grind them out in the fourth quarter.”

The Berries defeated the Raiders by 39 in the regular season and 27 in sectional play a year ago. But the Berries lost four key seniors to graduation and the Raiders, like a lot of teams on the Berries’ slate this year, return a year older and stronger. Though the Raiders unfortunately did lose one of their top players, Courtney Jacobsen, to a torn ACL at a recent practice.

“We’ll see them in the tournament. I don’t care how you look at it, it’s just a tough road for us to hoe the rest of the year,” Hoover said. “That’s all there is to it.”

The Berries have two postponed games that have been rescheduled. They will travel to Lafayette Central Catholic on Saturday, Jan. 4 for a 1 p.m. JV start. They travel to Muncie Central on Friday, Feb. 7 for a 6 p.m. JV start. The Logan boys host Muncie Central that night.

The Berries next host Anderson at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in a game where their 15-game North Central Conference winning streak will be on the line. Anderson led last year’s contest in the fourth quarter before the Berries finished strong for a 61-48 win.