Photo by Barbara Hockenbary

Hidden gem Jadyn Jensen putting up big numbers for Jones County Coyotes

On Jan. 6, Jones County’s Jadyn Jensen needed two points to break the school’s all-time career scoring record. But the team-first Jensen was only interested in that night’s game with Wall. 
While the announcer made a brief mention of the record during the game, Jensen and the team waited until the next day to celebrate. 
“Jadyn is all about the team,” Jones County coach Scott Matthews said. “Her mindset was these accolades are great but the team comes first.”’
Jensen has been a starter for Jones County since her eighth-grade season when the team finished with a 1-19 record. She and the team have improved each season, culminating with a 8-1 start this season and Jensen is leading the charge, scoring at a 17.3 points per game clip. 
Never satisfied with her game Jensen is always working on some aspect of her skill set. 
“There is always something you can improve on in your game,” Jensen said. “If you settle, teams are going to learn how to stop you and force weakness out of you.” 
On Jan. 6, Jensen broke Madison Matthews’ career scoring record (1,614) and heads into Friday’s game at Gregory closing in on 1,700 career points. Jensen has already signed to play college basketball next season at Mount Marty. Lancer’s women’s coach Allan Bertram calls Jensen one of the biggest hidden gems in South Dakota. 
“She’s 5-foot-10 and has guard skills,” Bertram said. “She can play in the post, is a multi-dimensional player and is the ultimate competitor.” 
Bertram said the Mount Marty program has signed eight players for next year and noted that Jensen is right at the top of that list. 
It didn’t hurt her college recruiting experience that she has a 4.0 GPA and is at the top of her class at Jones County. 
“My parents Lenae Tucker, Jessie Tucker and John Jensen just instilled the importance of getting good grades,” she said. “I’ve always cared about not just school, but anything I’m doing.” 
The Coyotes are off to one of their best starts in school history thanks to Jensen and 6-foot senior Mallory Valburg who averages 16.3 ppg and 7.5 rebounds per game. 
Jensen and Valburg have each played significant roles for Jones County for the past five seasons and Jensen often looks to her running mate when the Coyotes need a score. 
“There aren’t a lot of girls that can defend her down low,” Jensen said. “Because she creates so much space down low there are times where we just feed her the ball and she takes over.” 
On Jan. 20, Jones County picked up a 63-38 win over Kadoka (9-4). Matthews said that was the best game the Coyotes have played this year. 
“Against Kadoka we put together a full game,” Matthews said. “We had three players in double figures and a bunch of players in that five to seven-point range. In Kadoka I felt like we were being good teammates and every time someone did something good the entire bench was up and cheering.” 
Matthews noted seniors Jolie Dugan and Emma Hunt having impressive rebounding numbers as of late. He also mentioned the emergence of players like junior Sophie Dowling and freshman Mallory Venard as reasons for the mid-season improvement. 
“Jadyn keeps us going,” Matthews said. “It is pretty easy when you have multiple players step up and that makes us tough to defend.” 
After Friday’s game with Gregory the Coyotes play Bennett County, Sully Buttes and New Underwood before a matchup with Leola/Frederick Area at the Highmore Classic on Feb. 4. 
Jones County graduates five seniors this year and with minimal numbers in the freshman through junior classes Matthews is seeing Jensen and the other seniors pushing a talented group of middle-schoolers to get better every day in practice. 
Jensen doesn’t take that responsibility lightly and looks forward to seeing the future of Jones County basketball. 
“I am fortunate to be someone they look up to in that way,” she said. “We have a freshman named Addyson Ryken that always beats everyone in ladders. The seniors push those younger girls but they also push us and that makes us a better team.” 

The Pioneer Review

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