Jordan eager to lead Generals this season
QUICKSBURG — Emily Jordan stands out on the basketball court.
The 5-foot Stonewall Jackson High School senior point guard may typically be the smallest player on the court, but more importantly, for the last few years she has stood out as one of the top players in the area and with the Generals.
Jordan said she was mistaken for a water girl at an away game earlier in her career — until she stepped on the floor and into the starting lineup. She said she’s learned to use her height to her advantage.
“Obviously, I was always the smallest, always getting pushed around, and I guess at first I’d go home and whine about it,” Jordan said. “Then you just get used to it. And you can either go home and whine about it and not play, or you can deal with it and get better and let that make you stronger.”
If the Generals are going to return to the program’s winning ways this season, Jordan will have to play a big part in that.
As a freshman, Jordan had a strong group of seniors to look up to and learn from. The team had a lot of success and advanced to the regional semifinals.
“We had Cassie [Conley], Ashlie [Clar] and Keyana [Phelps]. I was always the youngest and they were always pushing me,” Jordan said. “I didn’t have a lot of pressure, they kind of took that off me some. Then after they [graduated], the pressure was on me and it was my turn right off the bat my sophomore year.”
Two years ago, the Generals started off slow but hit their stride in the postseason. The Generals advanced to the Shenandoah District tournament final and into the regional tournament.
However, last season the team struggled from start to finish and didn’t win a game. Jordan said it was tough going through all the losses.
“I tried not to let it get me down and just use it as motivation more,” Jordan said.
Jordan and her teammates have reason for optimism this year. The team has 15 players, including three freshmen and three sophomores. Stonewall Jackson plays its first game at Eastern Mennonite on Dec. 6.
While the team is young, Jordan said she’s excited for the season.
“We have a lot of younger girls and they have a lot of energy, and I think they’re ready to go,” Jordan said. “I think they’re excited. It will definitely take a couple games to get into it. … I’m excited — looking forward to it.”
Stonewall Jackson coach Jeff Burner said that he’s counting on Jordan’s experience and leadership to help the young team along this season.
“We’re going to be very young. So she’s going to have to be a good role model and try to make those kids better,” Burner said. “We’re hoping that leadership-wise, that she fills a role where she gets all of them to buy into being for each other.”
Jordan also plays soccer for the Generals, and Burner said that he thinks playing soccer has helped improve her footwork.
Burner said that some teams used a box-and-one against Jordan last year, and he’s hoping that they will have a little more offense around her this season.
“We’ll be a little better than we were. Our goal is that we want to be better and to keep working hard,” Burner said. “Hopefully we’ll have some people around her that will help her, and she’s got to trust that group and hope that they deliver on their end of it.”
Three years after Jordan looked up to the seniors, she is now the one that the younger players will look up to this season.
It’s a role that Jordan says she enjoys and is looking forward to filling for the Generals.
“I still can’t believe it. I just remember looking up to the older kids and now I am the older kid,” Jordan said. “I know when I was younger how I looked up to the seniors, so I know what it’s like. I want them to look up to me the same way and see me pushing myself because it will be their turn soon.”
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org