By Jeff Nations
Stonewall Jackson High School's Emily Jordan knew her time had come well before the girls basketball season even started last week.
Jordan could look around the locker room last season and count the number of returning starters the Generals would be counting on this season. She would have needed a mirror, though, since the junior point guard is the sole returnee from last season's regional qualifying squad.
So yeah, Jordan knew more would be expected this season.
"She's the only starter back," Stonewall Jackson coach Jeff Burner said. "She and Michaela Koontz kind of shared the point guard role last year. Out of the 7.8 points per game we had coming back, she was like 6.5 of them."
The Generals needed all of that scoring from Jordan, and then some. So far, she's responded well to the increased scoring burden. In two games last week, Jordan averaged a team-high 19.5 points. She led Stonewall in scoring in both games, and is The Northern Virginia Daily's Female Athlete of the Week for Dec. 1-Dec. 7.
"I definitely had to step up and take on more of a leadership role," Jordan said. "It's kind of different because I was always the one who really looked up to the seniors and the upperclassmen for leadership. Now I'm in that role."
Jordan has handled it just fine, even if the season has already had a couple bumps. Burner said with such an inexperienced squad, those highs and lows are to be expected, and the Generals managed both in the opener against James Wood.
Midway through the second quarter of that game, Stonewall held a 15-11 lead over higher-classification Colonels. Then Jordan picked up her fourth foul and had to join two other Stonewall guards on the bench who'd already picked up three fouls each. James Wood took advantage by outscoring their suddenly shorthanded opponent 17-1 to end the quarter and take command.
Jordan finished with a team-high 13 points, but it wasn't enough to prevent what turned into a 60-30 loss.
"I was so impressed with how we came out in the first quarter," Jordan said. "But yeah, the fouls kind of took over and we weren't able to overcome it."
Stonewall didn't have long to dwell on that loss. Just two days later, the Generals had to host county rival Central in their home opener. Jordan scored 16 first-half points to lead her team to a 26-17 halftime lead, but the Generals couldn't hold it despite her game-high 26-point effort. Central rallied to earn a hard-fought 56-53 victory.
"We're such a young team, and we don't have that confidence right away," Jordan said. "Even though we came up short in that game, I think it gave us a lot of confidence in what we can do."
Jordan drained four 3-pointers against the Falcons, perhaps helped by some extra shooting work she did over the summer when she and teammate Jayme Kokkonen attended Dick Baumgartner's Basketball Shooting Camp in Indiana.
"We asked everybody to sort of increase their scoring output," Burner said. "This summer she went out to Indiana and really improved her shot."
Jordan is happy with her start, and she's expecting the Generals to starting picking up some wins.
"I was thankful I had some shots falling," Jordan said. "I have to thank my teammates for getting me the ball where I could get good shots."
Contact Sports Editor Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org>