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February 22, 2013

Sophomore Nakeya Penny scoring at impressive rate for Berries

Jennings sisters combined to score 1,000 points this season.

Logansport sophomore Nakeya Penny is just about keeping pace with her older sister Jasmine in the scoring column for Logansport’s girls basketball team.

After her first two seasons Nakeya has scored 633 points and has a chance to reach 1,000 points by next season. Jasmine, now a standout junior at DePaul, had 723 points after her first two seasons at Logansport.

Nakeya outscored Jasmine in their sophomore campaigns. Nakeya had 368 points this season, while Jasmine scored 365.

“I didn’t think I was going to keep up with her honestly, because she’s obviously a little bit better of a player than I am,” Nakeya said. “But to see that I am close to her is making me proud.

“She is really good and I’m just trying to follow in her footsteps to make me a better player and do what she is doing now.”

Nakeya had the benefit of playing in four more games than Jasmine did as a sophomore, while they both played in 24 games as freshmen. Jasmine started in her very first varsity game, while Nakeya split time with the JV and varsity as a freshman until Katie Workman went down with a season-ending knee injury in the second game of the season. Nakeya went on to start 20 of the 24 games as a freshman, and she started every game but senior night this season.

Nakeya has had the benefit of playing with a great point guard in Whitney Jennings, while Jasmine was the Berries’ leading scorer in all four of her seasons and was their go-to player.

“A lot of people have kind of written her off as not being as good as Jasmine,” Logan coach Jerry Hoover said of Nakeya. “Let me tell you something, she’s a pretty darn good basketball player. In the last three games she’s going to the basket and causing a whole bunch of problems for people. She played as well as I would expect her to play the last three games. When she’s going to the basket she’s hard to stop.”

Nakeya was the Berries’ third-leading scorer this season (13.6 ppg) and second-leading rebounder (6.1 rpg).

“She’s a good rebounder for a sophomore,” Hoover said.

Nakeya, at 5-foot-11, is two inches shorter than Jasmine. Both are versatile players.

“I’ll most likely be a three,” Nakeya said. “Hoover’s telling me my senior year I’m probably going to be the point guard, so I should start practicing now.

“I just need to practice on my shot more and Hoover tells me I need to jump, so I need to practice that.”

Jennings sisters combine for over 1,000 points

The Penny sisters of course aren’t the only fabulous sister duo in recent years for the Berries, as the Jennings sisters combined for 1,016 points this season.

Whitney Jennings scored 637 points this season (23.6 ppg), and Rachel was the Berries’ second-leading scorer  (14.6 ppg) with 379 points.

Rachel is currently tied with Bedford North Lawrence’s Brittani Rizzi for the state lead in made 3-pointers this season with 76. BNL is playing in a semistate game on Saturday, so Rizzi will likely take the lead. Rachel did make her 76 on 12 less attempts than Rizzi. Rachel finished the season 76 of 167 from beyond the arc this season (45.5 percent).

Whitney is currently the state leader in assists with 211. She averaged 7.8 assists per game this season and her 498 career assists already rank her 10th all-time in state history entering her senior season.

So many of Whitney’s assists were kick-outs to Rachel for 3. Rachel played in her last game for the Berries last Saturday.

“It’s sad I’ll never play with Whitney again, or Maddy [Price] or Kiley [Victor] who I’ve played with since I was in third grade. Or my dad [Doug Jennings], I’ll never be coached by him. That’s a lot,” Rachel said. “I think it all hit me as soon as the game was over just realizing all that.”

Whitney to Rachel for 3 was certainly a staple of the Berries’ success the last three seasons.

Berry fans were loud and proud

Logansport fans are known to travel well during tournament runs, and they were out in full force for last Saturday’s Kokomo Regional.

There were over 2,000 Berry fans in attendance for the morning game against Fort Wayne Snider, and there were approximately 3,500 fans there for the final against Fort Wayne South.

The Berries, like last season, were a big draw this year for their big games.

“The support that we got from our community, not just from the regional Saturday, but all year has been amazing,” Whitney Jennings said. “I do want to thank our fans for coming out and supporting us this year. It’s been a great year and I hope they enjoyed the ride with us.”

The Berries finished with a 25-2 record and a No. 4 ranking in Class 4A. They won their first sectional title since 2007 and won their first regional game in the class era.

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