The Washington Times-Herald

March 21, 2013

Hard work behind Knepp's success

B-R junior has been a three-year leader

By Dennis Glade
Washington Times Herald

MONTGOMERY — Leading a team is an inexact science, and Barr-Reeve junior guard has mastered that skill in her three years with the Vikings.

Knepp led the Barr-Reeve to an 18-win season, along with leading the Vikings in points, assists, rebounds and steals during the 2012-13 season.

As a two-sport athlete, Knepp participates in volleyball during the fall, but she has received acclaim for her exploits on the basketball court.

Following the Vikings runner-up finish in the Class A Sectional at Barr-Reeve, Knepp was selected to Blue Chip All-Conference First Team and as an Indiana Junior All Star.

"It kind of was a surprise," Knepp said. "No one around here has gotten that kind of recognition lately. The last one from our school was Amber (Guinn) DeCoursey (1994), my volleyball coach. Especially since we didn't make a tournament run, it's nice to get recognition." Barr-Reeve coach Mark Holt said he has seen Knepp grow from a freshman, who took a secondary role, to a vocal leader - on and off the court as a junior.

Knepp filled up the stat sheet with 15.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 3.9 steals per game this season.

"When she (Knepp) was a freshman, we had two other outstanding players on the team, in Ty Harmon and Lindsey Graber," Holt said. "After Ty and Lindsey graduated in 2012, we kind of put the ball in Jenna's hands and let her do whatever she wanted to do. She's one of those kids who have great instincts; we don't have to run a lot of set plays. She went from fitting in to taking the full reigns of the team." Holt said to focus mainly on how many points Knepp scores is to miss all the facets in which she impacts the game.

"I like to create for to other people so they can get easy shots," Knepp said.

So much of what Knepp did this season was making sure her teammates understood where they should be to be successful. With sophomore point guard Hannah Bullock facing numerous injuries throughout the season, Knepp also took on the responsibility of the Vikings primary ball handler.

"I think being vocal makes a big difference," Knepp said. "Especially begin a guard, I get to see everything. It's nice to be able to tell everyone what I'm seeing and encourage them." Each season, Knepp has set new goals to push herself to get better, and in turn that goal-oriented strategy has benefitted the Vikings. Prior to last season, Knepp set a goal that she wanted to lead to the team in rebounding, and sure enough she accomplished that. Knepp even accumulated three triple doubles.

"It creates a team-first attitude," Holt said. "Even though, Jenna (Knepp) likes to score, she also likes to share the basketball. It creates the climate of teammates who aren't afraid to make that extra pass, who will work hard to get open, because they know they'll get the ball if they get open. There's so much more that she does for her teammates that bring them along with her. If a team wants to focus on her defensively, she'll find other people that are open. We also know when it's time to get a basket, that's where we are going first." Despite losing two seniors, in Harmon and Graber to graduation last spring, the Vikings had high hopes, but those were dashed in the sectional championship by arch rival Vincennes Rivet. Knepp said there are specific areas that Barr-Reeve can improve for next season.

"We would like to win the conference, we did it last year, but weren't able to this year," Knepp said. "Of course we want to win sectional, and be able to make more of a tournament run to get into the regional at least. We also would like to improve our record, and cut down on our losses." With only two months remaining in her junior year at Barr-Reeve, Knepp realizes she only has one more  year to accomplish all of the goals she has for herself and for her team.

"My high school career has gone by so fast," Knepp said. "It's crazy to think that I only have one more chance to do it all."