Wells Excited For Jayhawks’ Season To Begin

The Jamestown Community College women’s basketball team opens its 2017-18 basketball season at 5 p.m. today against Tompkins Cortland CC. Kneeling, from the left, are: Taylor Phelps, Hayden Burgeson, Alexis Rodenbaugh, Haley Hettenbaugh and Emilee Sperry. Standing are Alexis Hallberg, Olivia Lynn, Lakin Gustafson, Nicole Johnson and Brittany Lancaster. Submitted photo

A half-hour before practice earlier this week, Travis Wells sat down in a classroom adjacent to the gymnasium at the Physical Education Complex at Jamestown Community College, took a look at a sheet of paper that contained the roster of the Jayhawks’ women’s basketball team and smiled.

The third-year head coach liked what he saw.

He had reason to feel that way.

Although the program is coming off a 7-19 campaign in 2016-17, Wells maintains he is optimistic heading into today’s season opener at home against Tompkins Cortland CC. Tip-off is at 5 p.m.

“I’m just super excited,” he said, “because of the people I have coming back and the group we have coming in. I just can’t wait to get it going, and it’s here. The preseason just flew by.”

But not before the Jayhawks made a road trip for a scrimmage at Pitt-Bradford last Saturday.

“We did very well,” Wells said. “It was fun. We played hard and we were balanced. We were up 20 (points) pretty much the whole game.”

Leading the way among the sophomore returnees is guard Emilee Sperry, who was a second-team all-Region 3 selection a year ago. The Panama Central School graduate was the Jayhawks’ leading scorer and finished among the Region 3 leaders in several statistical categories, including ninth in field goals made (130); second in 3-point attempts (176); fourth in 3-point percentage (37.5); seventh in free throw percentage (71 percent); seventh in defensive rebounds (120); ninth in total rebounds (159); eighth in assists (66); seventh in steals (52); seventh in points (370); and fifth in points per game (14.2).

“She was just everything last year,” Wells said. “She came in as a freshman and had a solid year. She played solid defense and she scored.”

The other sophomores are guard/forward Brittany Lancaster (Cassadaga/Cassadaga Valley), guard Hayden Burgeson (Lakewood/Southwestern); and guard/forward Alexis Hallberg (Bemus Point/Maple Grove).

“Hayden came in and learned to run the point,” Wells said. “She had a good scrimmage (against Pitt-Bradford) and she distributed the ball well. She’s just learning the point-guard role. Brittany and Alexis are going to give us solid minutes, too.”

The newcomers have Wells excited, too. They include guard Alexis Rodenbaugh (North East, Pennsylvania/ North East), guard Taylor Phelps (Ashville/Chautauqua Lake); forward Nicole Johnson (Panama/Panama), forward Olivia Lynn (Frewsburg/Frewsburg); guard Haley Hettenbaugh (Kennedy/Randolph); and forward Lakin Gustafson (Sherman/Chautauqua Lake).

“It’s just a great class coming in,” Wells said.

Lynn headlines this group after having earned Post-Journal Player of the Year honors during her senior year at Frewsburg Central School.

“She’s just strong, aggressive, wants to score and she’s not afraid of contact,” Wells said. “She doesn’t back down at all.”

Tonight’s tentative starting lineup includes Sperry, Burgeson, Rodenbaugh, Johnson and Lynn, but Burgeson has been under the weather and if she’s not able to go, Hettenbaugh will get the nod.

“It’s going to be fun,” Wells said. “Right off the bat we have an awesome test to see where we’re at.”

SCHEDULE

Nov. 2, Tompkins Cortland, 5 p.m.; Nov. 4, vs. SUNY Broome CC at Crossover Classic at Corning CC, 3 p.m.; Nov. 5, TBA at Crossover Classic at Corning CC; Nov. 8, Mercyhurst North East, 5:30 p.m.; Nov. 11, at Community College of Rhode Island, 5 p.m.; Nov. 12, at University of Connecticut at Avery Point, 1 p.m.; Nov. 15, at Erie CC, 5:30 p.m., Nov. 20 at Pitt-Titusville, 5 p.m.; Nov. 29, Niagara County CC, 5:30 p.m.; Dec. 6, Genesee CC, 5:30 p.m.; Dec. 9, Westmoreland County CC at Jayhawk Classic, TBA; Dec. 10, Jayhawk Classic, TBA; Dec. 13, at Monroe CC, 5:30 p.m.; Dec. 16, Lakeland CC, 1 p.m.; Jan. 7, Niagara College of Canada, 1 p.m.; Jan. 10 at Westmoreland County CC, 5 p.m.; Jan. 21, at Lorain County CC, 1 p.m.; Jan. 24, Erie CC, 5:30 p.m.; Jan. 27, at Mercyhurst North East, 1 p.m.; Jan. 31, at Niagara County CC, 5:30 p.m.; Feb. 7, Monroe CC, 5:30 p.m.; Feb. 10, at Genesee CC, 1 p.m.; Feb. 14, Mercyhurst North East, 5:30 p.m.; Feb. 17 at Erie CC, 1 p.m.; Feb. 21, Niagara County CC, 5:30 p.m.; Feb. 24, Genesee CC, 1 p.m.; Feb. 28, at Monroe CC, 5:30 p.m.

Bold: Home game

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