Strasburg’s Alsberry off to fast start in return from injury

Strasburg's Jaden Alsberry controls the ball as Warren County's Nikki Roof defends during their recent game. Alsberry has had a strong season, after missing all of last year due to a broken foot. Rich Cooley/Daily

STRASBURG — Last year Jaden Alsberry had to sit and watch as her Strasburg teammates played basketball. This year the sophomore guard is making up for lost time.

Alsberry missed all but one game of last season due to a broken foot. But now that she’s healthy, Alsberry is making a big impact on the Rams’ squad.

Alsberry said she broke her foot on a four-wheeler accident in September of 2016. She said it was tough watching her teammates and not being able to play last season.

“It was hard,” Alsberry said of missing most of the season. “I just wanted to have a strong comeback. So I worked hard on not missing out on stuff.”

Strasburg girls basketball coach Darin Jenkins said that Alsberry was at practices and was very supportive of her teammates while she was out.

Jenkins said Alsberry was cleared to come back with the team for the Rams’ final game of the season — a playoff loss to East Rockingham. Jenkins said she only played a few minutes in the game.

Alsberry said that she was able to play for her Amateur Athletic Union team, the Winchester Rising Stars, this past season.

Alsberry said it was a good feeling being back out on court with the Rising Stars.

“It was kind of slow at first, because I had to start off slow to make sure my foot was healed completely,” Alsberry said. “But towards the end I was good to go.”

Alsberry said she decided not to play volleyball for Strasburg this season, so she could focus totally on basketball.

She is currently averaging close to a double-double —  9 points and 9 rebounds per game for the Rams.

Despite her 6-foot-2 frame, Alsberry is a shooting guard. She said she enjoys shooting the ball and playing on the perimeter.

“With my height, I think it throws teams off a little bit, because they expect me to play as a post but I don’t,” Alsberry said.

Jenkins said that Alsberry’s size and skill set poses a real problem for opposing teams.

“She creates a mismatch,” Jenkins said. “She’s 6-2, and if you want to put one of your bigs on her then she can take them outside. And if you put a guard on her, she’s got the heighth to manage to get into the basket a little bit.”

Jenkins said Alsberry has a nice all-around game and can do a little bit of everything on the floor.

Jenkins said she’s also very competitive.

“She wants to win. I think that’s a big strength for me,” Jenkins said. “When you put somebody out there that wants to win and won’t accept losing, then most of the time people follow that.”

Alsberry doesn’t have to look far to find somebody to shoot around with. Alsberry’s sister, Camerin, is a senior on Strasburg’s team.

“I think we both enjoy playing together, since we both connect at home and on the court,” Alsberry said. “We both push each other.”

Alsberry also has a strong bond with fellow sophomore and Strasburg teammate Christyan Reid. The pair play together on the Winchester Rising Stars and for the Rams.

Jenkins said that both Alsberry and the 6-foot-4 Reid are leaders for the team.

“I think they’re real good friends off the court as well,” Jenkins said. “So they have a really good relationship. They tend to know what one another likes to do on the court. And I think they work really well together. And it’s not just them two. I think overall their teammates see their bond and then everyone just sort of follows. They’re both quiet leaders, they really are.”

The Rams are off to a 4-4 start this season. The Rams have won three of their last four games. They play this week in their own tournament — the Ram Hardwood Classic. Strasburg plays against Luray at 7:30 p.m, Thursday.

Alsberry said she believes the team is gaining confidence after some wins early in the season and will just continue to improve throughout the year.

“I think since we know how well we can play, I think we’ll start picking it up more and just doing better,” Alsberry said.