Pharos-Tribune

January 16, 2013

Rachel Jennings is a key player for No. 4-ranked Berries

by Beau Wicker
Pharos-Tribune

— A year ago Logansport’s Rachel Jennings was one of the top 3-point shooters in the state as a junior.

This season she’s been even better from behind the arc while at the same time showing an improvement in her all-around game.

The 5-foot-8 senior guard is Logan’s second leading scorer, averaging 15.1 points per game. The Berries are 16-1 and ranked No. 4 in Class 4A.

“Over the past years a lot of teams have been keying on my shooting and they know I can shoot, so I’ve had to find other ways to score and help my team,” Jennings said. “This year I’ve taken the ball to the basket more and got to the free throw line, because I know I can make free throws. That’s where a lot of the points have came, and getting fastbreak layups, too.”

Jennings’ 51 made 3-pointers this season are tops in the state. She is 51 of 110 from 3-point range for 46.4 percent, which is third in the state among players with at least 50 attempts. She is 46 of 55 from the foul line (83.6 percent), which is the best percentage on the team.

“I think she’d make a good Division II player because she can shoot it, her defense has gotten a lot better, her passing is adequate and she has a good left hand,” Logan coach Jerry Hoover said. “So there’s just a whole lot of parts to her game that’s pretty good. She’s just not big enough to play the wing at Division I.”

Jennings’ younger sister, Whitney Jennings, is an Iowa recruit and 2014 Miss Basketball candidate. The sisters provide quite a 1-2 punch in the backcourt for the Berries.

“We’ve been playing together since we first started playing basketball, and she’s always been the point guard and I’ve always been the shooting guard, and I feel like that’s always contributed to my shooting is she’s always been the one to give me the ball,” Rachel said. “I’ve always been lucky enough to have a point guard like her that’s been able to get me the ball.”

Rachel helps Whitney as well, as her top-notch shooting ability helps with spacing on the floor.

“On some of her plays she can drive because the person on me isn’t going to leave,” Rachel said.

The Berries host Richmond on Friday night for a chance to secure at least a share of the North Central Conference championship. They travel to New Castle the following week, and with two wins they can run the table in NCC play for the second year in a row. They had never gone undefeated in the NCC until last season.

The Berries also own wins over two teams that entered with No. 1 rankings — Class 4A Hamilton Southeastern and Class 3A Benton Central.

“We’ve had a good season so far,” Rachel said. “Hopefully we can go far in the tournament. That’s definitely the biggest part of the season, and that’s the most important is where we are at the end of the season and not where we’re ranked now.”

The Berries are hosting a sectional again this year and will be the heavy favorite. They’ve beaten every team in the sectional field by at least 22 points, and Rachel said she and her teammates know they will have a bull’s eye on their back going in.

“I feel like the sectionals — even though we have beaten all these teams — everyone’s rooting against us, so we’ve got to come ready to play each and every game,” she said.

A big honor for Rachel this season was she was named to the Hall of Fame Classic’s all-tournament team. The Classic features some of the top teams and players in the state. She also earned one of the event’s $1,000 scholarships. She has a 4.14 GPA and is ranked fifth in her class of 272.

The following is a question-and-answer session with Rachel Jennings.

Q. Of the sports you play, which is your favorite? Why?

A. I can’t really choose a favorite because there are aspects of each sport I play that I love. My teammates and coaches on each of my teams have made playing sports at LHS a blessing the last four years.

Q. How did you first get started in sports? At what age?

A. I’ve been playing sports since I could walk. I played T-ball, soccer and basketball at a very young age.

Q. Do you have any family members who played sports?

A. I have a long list of relatives who played sports in high school and college. My parents [Doug and Carol] both played multiple sports in high school and my dad played basketball at the University of Indianapolis.

Q. Who do you consider your biggest role model? Why?

A. I consider my parents my biggest role models because they have taught me to work hard and have pushed me to succeed.

Q. What experiences have you had in sports have made you the athlete you are today?

A. I have grown up with two brothers and two sisters and we have practiced and played sports together for a long time. Growing up competing against my siblings has made me a better athlete.

Q. What is your favorite memory of playing sports at your school?

A. Winning the North Central Conference my junior year in basketball and tennis. Also being ranked this year in basketball as one of the best girls teams in the state.

Q. Who is the best athlete in your respective sport you’ve ever gone up against?

A. My sister, Whitney. We go up against each other every day in practice and she makes me a better player.

Q. What are your goals for your future? Do you plan on attending college?

A. I plan on playing basketball in college. However, I am undecided where and what I want to study.

Each week during the school year the Pharos-Tribune recognizes an athlete from one of five area high schools. The recipients are selected by each school’s athletic department.