GIRLS BASKETBALL

KV's improvement follows Bethany Jansma's season

2014-02-19T20:00:00Z 2014-02-20T03:28:07Z KV's improvement follows Bethany Jansma's seasonHillary Smith hillary.smith@nwi.com, (219) 933-3233 nwitimes.com
February 19, 2014 8:00 pm  • 

Kankakee Valley's Bethany Jansma turned on the switch during winter break.

Prior to the school break, the senior guard was averaging 11.2 points per game. Since the start of the new year, she's averaged 18.6 points per game.

"We had a lot of time off because of the break and the weather and I think that time off gave me time to get back to my normal self and not think too hard," Jansma said. "I tend to (over-think) too much. I'm hardest on myself, but when I just play, that's when I play my best basketball."

Her season of success has helped turn the Kougars' season around. Prior to the holiday break, K.V. was 5-4. Since then, the Kougars have gone 10-2 and won their first sectional championship since 2005 with a win over Andrean last Saturday.

K.V. will play Griffith at 9:30 a.m. in one semifinal of the Class 3A Rochester Regional.

"Since Christmas, really, you can see her play with confidence, and it's spilled over to other kids," Kankakee Valley coach Ryan Myers said. "She's a great offensive rebounder, too. She has been a big, big improvement help on the team."

As a freshman, Jansma joined a squad that had already been playing together for a long time. A DeMotte Christian school player, Jansma joined the team and was placed on the freshman squad. It didn't take long for coaches to realize she had a spot elsewhere.

"We brought her up for the holiday tournament and she played on the JV," Myers said. "The freshman coaches were telling us she needed to come up. When we saw her play and how she could create things for other people, we were thinking, 'Wow, where have we been? We missed the boat on this kid.' By the start of her sophomore year she was starting on varsity."

Jansma is still creating plays. While she leads the team in points with 15.4 per game, she also leads in assists at 3.8. When she scored a then-season high of 23 points against North Judson, she also added her season high of nine assists.

Her new season high of 26 points came in the regular season against Andrean, and she added three assists and a pair of steals.

"She's making other kids on our team better," Myers said. "Some of her passes, it's fun to see what she tries to get the ball through. Our team has seen such a big improvement with her improvement this season. All aspects of her game have improved, her defense, her assists and, of course, her scoring."

The reason is simple. Jansma didn't want her senior year to end without her best games.

"I just knew that this is my last time I'll ever be playing basketball with my teammates," Jansma said. "I wanted to just give all I had and leave everything on the court every game. I knew that this was our last year to play and I just wanted to win a sectional, finally."

Jansma is hoping this ultimately isn't her last season of basketball. She was recently offered by Trinity Christian and will pick a school after her season ends.

"I'm still open minded," Jansma said. "I still want to visit a few more schools."

"She's under the radar," Myers said. "She hasn't really gotten a lot of attention. She was recently nominated to Hoosier Basketball Magazine's Top 100, which is a great honor. Hopefully there will be many more coming to find her."

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