After last season ended for the Penns Valley girls’ basketball team, coach Karen McCaffrey issued a challenge to the girls returning this season to take at least 10,000 shots during the spring and summer.
Jordan Andrus didn’t think that was enough.
“I decided I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could make 10,000 instead of just shooting 10,000,” she said. By the time the six-month stretch ended, she did even better — draining 16,000 buckets.
The hard work showed Friday night against Bellefonte, with Andrus sinking four 3-pointers and netting a career-high 21 points to go with 11 rebounds in a 58-23 victory over the Lady Red Raiders.
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Andrus led an offense that was on fire, making 46 percent from the field for the game and an even hotter 56 percent in the first half. Emma Butler added nine points while Isabella Culver notched eight points and six rebounds, while Hannah Montminy had eight points and four assists.
The Lady Rams (3-0) ran an efficient half-court offense, working the ball around and finding an open shooter for plenty of wide-open looks at the basket, including Andrus around the arc. She was 7 for 12 from the field for the game, including drilling 4-of-6 3-point attempts.
“We’ve been waiting on that,” McCaffrey said. “She’s been working on it so hard.”
All those shots during the summer had her ready for this season.
“I felt confident in it,” Andrus said. “I wouldn’t have gotten my shots if it wasn’t for my teammates getting me the ball.”
Andrus also played AAU basketball, with three practices a week during the summer, so getting plenty of practice shots was easy. It also was necessary with a position change. She played in the post last season but was moved to a guard for this year, so she had to work on her range.
“It helped a lot,” Andrus said. “I feel better than I thought I would, but there’s still some things I need to work on.”
McCaffrey said only a handful of the girls reached the goal of 10,000 attempts — many compete on other Penns Valley sports teams — but even 6 or 7,000 tries helped them out.
The coach also was happy the girls recognized early in the game that Andrus was hitting her shots.
“In the past, with this same group, we forgot who had the hot hand sometimes,” McCaffrey said. “We kept telling them, ‘This might be your night.’ They’ve been so unselfish as a team, cheering each other night. Tonight was Jordan’s night, and if it’s not your night, do whatever you can to help the team.”
The Lady Raiders had trouble keeping up. They had 21 turnovers, with many turning into fast breaks for Penns Valley, but they also had difficulty keeping up with the Lady Rams’ ball movement.
“We had girls you could tell weren’t mentally prepared before the game,” Bellefonte coach Adam Gearhart said. “Penns Valley walked in, and they were ready to take care of business. You could tell right when they walked into this gym they were ready to play. We had some that weren’t.”
Bellefonte did generate 20 turnovers for Penns Valley, with eight off steals, so Gearhart will take that small victory for a roster dominated by freshmen and sophomores with only one senior on the floor.
Mal Smith’s 10 points and Maddie Steiner’s seven rebounds, three assists and three steals led the Lady Raiders (0-4).
“The girls scrap, and we take pride in our defense,” Gearhart said. “That’s something that carried us to some success last year.”