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Varsity Q&A: Jasmine Hill, Oakland Mills, basketball

As the youngest of three athletic sisters, Jasmine Hill picked up a lot of pointers along the way to her stellar high school basketball career. Her first two seasons at Oakland Mills, she played with Nicole, now 19 and playing at East Stroudsburg, while Vanessa, 22, graduated before she arrived. She started playing in the Columbia Basketball Association recreation league at 5.

Voted the Howard County Player of the Year last season by the coaches, Hill scored her 1,000th career point in December. The 5-foot-11 senior forward-guard leads the Scorpions (12-2) in scoring and rebounding this winter, averaging 18.4 points and 12.4 rebounds. She also contributes 3.6 steals, 1.7 assists and 1.4 blocks per game and has hit 11 3-pointers.

An excellent student with a 4.33 weighted GPA, Hill plans to study computer engineering at California University of Pennsylvania, 35 miles south of Pittsburgh, where she will play for the Vulcans' Division II basketball team.

Did you follow your sisters into basketball?

Yes. My dad put us in camps, so we didn't have a choice. We all just did it. He was like, "You're playing basketball." I don't know why. Maybe he just wanted something to teach us to do, because he didn't have any boys. (Laughs) We've got a girl dog, too.

How did you benefit as an athlete from being the youngest of three athletic sisters?

I think I was able to see what was expected of them and what would be expected of me, what they do on the court and how they say, "Oh, that doesn't work." It comes from an objective perspective, because I'm not in their shoes, so I can watch and see what's going on before I have to get into that position.

Were you competitive growing up?

Actually, one thing that I wish I could do is play with Nicole again, because she was the best teammate I ever had. She was so encouraging and coming in as a freshman she was really good about it. She looked for me on the floor and I'm so glad I got to play with her.

Why did you decide to go a Division II program?

I realized I did not want to go Division I at all. Not to say you can't be a serious basketball player and go Division II, it's just that I like basketball but I did really want to be able to focus on school too because that's what I'm going to college for, to get an education, to get a profession. I felt like being in a Division II program would be better suited for me and basketball wouldn't necessarily be the more major aspect of it.

Are you looking forward to the Feb. 1 rematch with Glenelg after losing by two points in December?

If there was one game I wanted to win, it was that one. We're probably not going to be county champions. I don't know if we can make it to states, but I just want to beat Glenelg. They beat us three times last year and one time every year before that, so that's all I want and we're at home, so I'm very, very excited.

What's it going to take to beat them?

We played great defense last time. I think we just need to play good defense, not give them a lot of 3-point shots and be able to make our shots, easy shots that we'll miss and that's what lets us down. Last time, we missed so many inside, close shots and they're hard to come by, because Glenelg is a good defensive team.

What drew you to computer engineering?

I love fixing technology and figuring out how things work, putting them together, taking them apart. There are so many different parts of computers and technology that I don't know about. I would like to learn about them and figure out how they work.

Are you superstitious?

I try not to be my senior year, but my junior year, I had to take a nap before every game, I had to drink a homemade smoothie before every game, I had to eat pretzels before every game, I had to listen to music before every game. I was really superstitious. This year, I try to say no, because in college, I don't want to have to go in thinking that I'm not going to play good if I don't do that. I don't think it really helps. The only thing I do this year is I listen to the same song when I walk in, "The Motto" by Lil Wayne.

What day of your sporting life would you most like to live over again?

Eighth grade in AAU when I made a winning shot at the buzzer to win the game, a 3-pointer. It was like something you see on TV. It felt so good.

What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Just to keep going. Don't put your head down or get beat up about something because life is going to go on. Experiences like that make you tougher and that's what you need. Your character is judged on how you act in adversity not when everything's going well. I got that from my mom and my dad and my sisters.

Did you make a New Year's resolution?

One of them was — and this is going to sound so weird — to stop watching creepy things on TV like Dateline and 48 Hours, because I don't want to be scared when I have to live at college. Another one was to stop eating so many sweets.

So how's it going? Have you stuck to the resolutions?

I have stuck to not watching creepy things, but I baked some s'more brownies last weekend and I ate like three-fourths of the pan (laughs).

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