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Elmhurst, 12/10/11--Ridgewood's Jackie Stroud goes up for a layup. Timothy Christian HS hosted Ridgewood HS in girls basketball on Saturday. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
After draining seven three-pointers in Ridgewood’s season-opening game against Morton, senior Jackie Stroud now possesses two things: the school record for most threes scored in a game and a giant bull’s-eye on her back.
Stroud broke the record even as the Rebels fell 72-61 to the Mustangs Nov. 13; the shooting guard also set career highs in points (35) and three-pointers made.
In Ridgewood’s Nov. 20 rematch against Morton, Stroud was tasked with solving a defensive game plan designed to stop her.
In the earlier matchup, “They were giving me the jump shot in the corner — that’s my shot — so I kept making it,” Stroud said. “I didn’t want to get too cocky [in the second game] because I knew they were going to double-team me. They’re a good team. I wasn’t looking to score 35 points again.”
Morton coach Bob Becker’s strategy called upon a player — often 5-foot-9 forward Jasmine Davis, the team’s best defender — to shadow Stroud and run her off the 3-point line. As Stroud expected, Becker also employed double teams and pressed Ridgewood to both limit her open shots and create turnovers.
Becker’s plan worked. Morton’s defense stifled Stroud — she scored 10 points and didn’t make a 3-pointer — and the Mustangs won 64-37.
The Concordia University recruit bounced back by scoring 21 points in the Rebels’ 50-45 loss to Mt. Assisi on Nov. 23 and another 21 against Riverside-Brookfield the next day — a 67-47 defeat that sent the Rebels to 0-5.
Injuries have hobbled Amanda LoBianco’s squad in first few weeks of the season — the nine-person team finished its second Morton game with only seven healthy players — making it increasingly vital for senior point guard Ines Grepo to establish herself as another consistent scoring threat.
“I’ll see a lot of teams go box-and-1 on (Stroud), but that gives Ines an opportunity to step up,” LoBianco said. “She did toward the end of the (Nov. 20 game against Morton); she did, however she can’t wait until the end.”
Repetition and hard work have been vital in Stroud’s growth as a basketball player. She does not stop training after practice ends; even during summer sessions, she worked to improve her already potent 3-point shot by regularly shooting for 90 minutes after the practices were over.
That work ethic, along with her skills on the court, is appreciated by teammates like Jillian Andrades.
“She plays an important role,” said Andrades, a senior forward. “Without her, we probably wouldn’t have a great chance of winning any games. She can go out there and she can do it all. She can shoot a 3, she can drive and she can go backdoor. She plays good D. That’s what we love about her.”~.