June 4, 2013

Jennings, Heath to team up again for Junior All-Stars

by Beau Wicker

— Whitney Jennings isn’t the only point guard on this year’s Indy Star Indiana Junior All-Star girls team that has called Logansport home.

Her good friend Jaclyn Heath is also a member of the team. Heath is the daughter of former Logansport boys basketball coach Skeeter Heath, who coached the Berries for three seasons from 2000 to 2003.

“Jaclyn has been one of my best friends since we were little girls,” Jennings said. “We haven’t played together for a long time. It’ll be good to be her teammate again.”

Skeeter Heath has coached the LaPorte girls team for the last 10 seasons, and Jaclyn has been a standout for the Slicers the last three.

“She stopped going to school here in the second or third grade, but they still lived here until she was in the fifth or sixth grade,” Jennings said. “They moved but we kept a close friendship. We text or talk and have maintained a good friendship over the years.”

Heath, a 5-4 guard, averaged 11.7 points and 7.4 assists per game for a Slicers team that went 13-9 this past season. She enters her senior season with 717 career points.

“Heath, she’s a very good player,” Logansport coach Jerry Hoover said. “I remember being in their living room when she was 5 or 6 years old shooting a Nerf ball on a 4 or 5 foot basket and you could tell then she’d be pretty good.

“She’s deserving. She can flat-out shoot. She has a great crossover move, as good as anyone in the state.”

Hoover said making the Junior All-Stars is “a great honor.”

As for Jennings, Hoover said, “I would be extremely surprised if she doesn’t do very well. I think she’ll do very well. She’s been working on her game hard. She’ll do well.”

The Junior All-Stars will play a pair of games against the Kentucky Juniors this weekend. The first game is Friday at Greenfield-Central High School with the girls game at 5 p.m. and the boys to follow. Admission is $8 at the door. The game in Kentucky will be played Saturday at St. Xavier High School in Louisville. The girls game begins at 5 p.m. and boys to follow.

The Indiana Junior All-Stars will face the Indiana Senior All-Stars twice next week in exhibitions. Doubleheaders will be on Monday (June 10) at Sullivan and Wednesday (June 12) at Tipton. Girls games will begin at 6 p.m. on those two nights, with boys games to follow.

The Indiana Senior All-Stars will face Kentucky in their annual series that dates to 1940 on June 14 at Freedom Hall in Louisville and June 15 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Action begins at 5:30 p.m. on June 14; the first game on June 15 begins at 5 p.m.

The junior girls core group features Jennings, Kindell Fincher of Fort Wayne Canterbury, Tayler Goodall of Columbus North, Erica Moore of Mt. Vernon (Fortville), Sydney Buck of Homestead and Maura Muensterman of Evansville Mater Dei.

The girls north group includes Heath, Kayla Brown of Westfield, Nikki Grose of Warsaw, Kellie Kirkhoff of Roncalli, Morgan Olson of NorthWood and Courtney Smith of Fort Wayne Concordia.

The girls south group is Mackenzie Campbell of Rushville, Danielle Cuttino of Ben Davis, Jenna Knepp of Barr-Reeve, Lauren Whitlatch of Bloomington South and Ana Owens and Destiny Washington of Lawrence North.

In the inaugural Indiana-Kentucky Junior All-Star Games in 2012, the boys’ teams split their games and the Indiana girls swept a pair from Kentucky.

At Heritage Christian School in Indianapolis, the Indiana boys defeated Kentucky 126-103 and the Indiana girls beat Kentucky 101-98. One night later, at North Oldham High School in Goshen, Ky., the Indiana girls completed their sweep with a 78-68 victory while the Kentucky boys salvaged a split with an 81-71 decision.

Rachel Jennings playing in prestigious game

Whitney Jennings isn’t the only member of family that will be playing in a prestigious basketball event this weekend.

Her older sister Rachel Jennings will be playing 14 miles away Friday night in the Hoosiers Reunion All-Star Classic at Knightstown’s Historic Hoosier Gym. The eighth annual girls-boys doubleheader will start with the girls game at 6 p.m.

The games will be played on the movie home court of the “Hickory Huskers” in Knightstown. Forty-eight of Indiana’s very finest senior boys and girls basketball players from the graduating class of 2013 will be invited to participate in this event.

The Bethel-bound Rachel Jennings, a recent Logansport grad, was one of the best shooters in the state this past season.

“I told the girls that’s what happens when you get good, good things happen to you,” Hoover said.