December 30, 2012

Rachel Jennings enjoys great day at the HOF Classic

Berries play in Region Rumble on New Year’s Day.

by Beau Wicker

— She might sometimes get overshadowed by her younger sister, but make no mistake, Rachel Jennings is an outstanding high school basketball player and is having a big senior season.

Jennings is one of the best long-range shooters in the state, and her shooting ability was on full display on one of the state’s biggest stages Friday at the Hall of Fame Classic at the New Castle Fieldhouse.

Jennings scored 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range in the opening 83-54 loss to Evansville Mater Dei, and she had 18 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the 50-40 win over Hamilton Southeastern. She was 3 of 6 from 3-point range and 5 of 6 from the foul line against HSE.

Her play earned her one of the top honors in the most prestigious in-season tournament in the state, as she was named to the all-tournament team. She joined her sister, junior Whitney Jennings, Mater Dei junior Maura Muensterman and sophomore Tori Schickel and Columbus North sophomore Ali Patberg on the all-tourney team. Columbus North junior Tayler Goodall was named the tournament MVP. A glaring omission from the all-tourney team was Hamilton Southeastern senior Taya Reimer, who’s a favorite to win Miss Basketball, a Notre Dame recruit and the fourth-ranked player in the nation on

“There’s some really good teams and some really great players out here, so just to be among them is really cool, I thought,” Rachel Jennings said.

The all-tournament team honor wasn’t the only award that Rachel earned on the day, as she was named a 2012 Richard P. Jennings Scholar along Jay County boys player Tyler Back. The $1,000 Jennings Scholarship is named for an outstanding gentleman, successful businessman and dedicated citizen to the City of New Castle, Richard P. Jennings, who was the first volunteer coordinator for the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. His countless volunteer hours and tireless spirit are remembered by fellow volunteers each year as they raise scholarship funds. His wife, Gloria, and his entire family have continued to generously support the Hall of Fame since Richard’s death in 1995.

“That’s such an honor,” Rachel said. “There are a lot of great girls, a lot of smart girls in this tournament, so to be picked is really awesome.”

Rachel has a 4.14 GPA and is ranked fifth in her class out of 272. She plans to play basketball in college.

“Rachel is an exceptional young lady and community leader of tomorrow," Logansport principal Matt Jones said. "Her prior accomplishments, work ethic and drive virtually guarantee her continued success as a student and person.”

Rachel was happy the Berries were able to salvage a win over Hamilton Southeastern, the No. 1-ranked team in Class 4A.

“I just felt like that says a lot about our team. We came back, we were ready to play. We wanted to get one win, we didn’t want to go out of here losing both games,” she said.

Quoting the General

The Logansport-Hamilton Southeastern matchup was a possible regional preview. The regional this year will be held on Feb. 16 in Huntington.

Both teams will have to win sectional titles of course, and Hamilton Southeastern’s sectional, at least on paper, has the stronger field.

Logansport coach Jerry Hoover said it would be tough to beat HSE twice in one season, but he said he received advice from legendary coach Bob Knight long ago to always go for a win no matter what the situation. So the focus was to go all-out for a win against HSE Friday at the Classic.

“At Ben Davis we had won 12 in a row or 13 in a row, and I said, ‘you know, I don’t think it would hurt us to get beat.’ And he said, ‘Hoover, you’re even dumber than I thought you were. What makes you think that after they get beat, you can get them going again.’ That has stayed with me a long time. You want to win them all. You don’t want to lose. It doesn’t help anybody getting beat. So I’m just glad we came back and now it’s on to Hammond and we’ll see what we can do.”

Region Roundball Rumble

The Class 4A No. 4 Berries (12-1) will have a quick turnaround and will play in another showcase game on New Year’s Day at the Region Roundball Classic.

The Berries will face East Chicago Central (6-7) at 5:30 p.m. (EST) Tuesday at the Hammond Civic Center.

East Chicago went 1-2 at the South Bend Washington Holiday Tournament this weekend. The Cardinals defeated New Prairie and had losses to SB Washington and Michigan City.