Freshman forward Jordyn Jenkins was a force inside with 16 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks and two steals as ninth-ranked Kentridge secured a spot in the state title game against Glacier Peak.
TACOMA – The thing about the Kentridge High School girls basketball team is it is young, tireless and talented, and with a seemingly endless bench.
There’s always someone else.
So when sophomore JaQuaya Miller, a 6-foot-3 center, and Bellarmine star Shalyse Smith were locked in battle in the paint all evening and neutralized each other, it freed up 6-1 freshman forward Jordyn Jenkins to help give her team a historic win.
Jenkins was a force inside with 16 points, 12 rebounds , four blocks and two steals as ninth-ranked Kentridge secured its first state-championship appearance with a dominating 54-41 win over second-ranked Bellarmine Prep in Friday’s Class 4A state semifinals at the Tacoma Dome.
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The Chargers (25-5) were able to navigate their first semifinal appearance by challenging the Lions’ attacking defense with its own attack. Add a ferocious freshman on the interior and Kentridge was unstoppable with its two-on-one-headache inside.
“The two of us (Miller and Jenkins) with our energy and enthusiasm really helps us with the game,” said Jenkins, who is 15 with a huge upside. “Us both being tough and both being good makes us win. (Bellarmine) started to get tired and give up and that made me push more and go more. We wanted it more and got it.”
Junior guard Morgan Gary broke the Bellarmine defense down off the dribble and hit pullup jumpers en route to 16 points and she added three steals.
Miller had 11 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks but it was her defense on Smith, the Arizona commit, that was the difference.
The 6-foot-1 Smith finished with five points on 2-of-10 shooting and was clearly bothered by the inside presence of Miller and Jenkins.
“Good thing there was only one of them (inside),” Jenkins said.
The Chargers now get to enjoy rarefied air.
“I’m young and getting this far is amazing,” Jenkins said.
Kentridge meets Glacier Peak in the 4A state title game on Saturday at 7 p.m. Bellarmine Prep (25-3) plays Moses Lake for third place on Saturday at 1 p.m.
“Coming to state is a huge opportunity for us, because we can make history,” Gary said. “This time against (Bellarmine), I feel like we just wanted it more.”
Miller did most of the dirty work on the Lions’ Smith, but it helped having Jenkins as a tag-team partner in that task.
“I think we needed to shut down the most important player for them and that was Shalyse, because they get the ball to her a lot,” Miller said.
Grizzlies peaking at right time
It’s a season of firsts for Glacier Peak (24-1) of Snohomish, which is playing in Class 4A for the first time. It had never reached the state semifinals until Friday. Now, it’s more history and on to the state title game after a 55-51 win over Moses Lake.
BYU commit Paisley Johnson led the Grizzlies with 17 points, scoring 11 points in the first half.
Moses Lake (21-4) lost for the third time in four seasons in the 4A state semifinals, but is still guaranteed to place for the fourth season in a row at state.