Late in last Wednesday night’s game, during a timeout, McDaniel College’s women’s basketball players listened to a singular voice above the din of Gill Center’s gymnasium.
Before coach Christin Gowan got the attention of her players, Josey Klingenberg urged the Green Terror to communicate and maintain their up-tempo style in order to get back into the contest against visiting Gettysburg. Everyone listened, including Jayce Klingenberg, Josey’s older sister.
It didn’t phase Jayce Klingenberg, who knew what the Terror were getting when her younger sister chose McDaniel. It might be rare for a freshman to take hold of a timeout, but for the Klingenbergs.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing with her,” said Jayce Klingenberg, who played with Josey for two years at Manchester Valley High School. “We were always kind of the opposite kind of player. She was super aggressive and loud, and I was more of the calm and composed one. I think that a lot of times we brought out the best in each other. So far it’s been nothing but great.”
The siblings are back together again as basketball teammates, Jayce a 5-foot-6 junior guard with two starts this year and Josey a 5-1 freshman guard who made her first collegiate start Wednesday against Gettysburg (the Bullets won 66-57).
Jayce Klingenberg was a Times two-time all-county first-team basketball pick with the Mavericks, and played three sports in high school. Josey Klingenberg also earned a pair of first-team all-county hoops nods.
The younger Klingenberg assumed point guard duties against the Bullets and held her own, with five points, four rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 27 minutes. She’s averaging 2.5 assists per game, tops on the Green Terror.
“When I was coming here and deciding to go here, I didn’t know who was going to be the coach. That was a little nerve-wracking,” Klingenberg said. “But the way we [run] our system, I feel like I fit right in. All the girls are super supportive of everything. My nerves aren’t really there, and I’m just going to go out and playing the way I know how to play.”
Klingenberg is showing the same spunk on the court for McDaniel (2-2) that she displayed at Man Valley, which is nothing new to her older sister.
“Josey is embracing it, and embracing it well,” Jayce Klingenberg said. “She’s stepped right into that point guard role and she has carried that position well. I think it’s a great position for her, because she’s naturally loud and outgoing. She brings out leadership with no fear, even as a freshman.”
McDaniel visited York on Saturday and lost in overtime, 71-64. Josey Klingenberg started and had two points, one assist, and one steal. Jayce Klingenberg added five points, one rebound, and one assist, and played a season-high 23 minutes.
First-year coach Christin Gowan said she’s pleased with her freshman’s progress, particularly since Josey Klingenberg missed some time as a senior in high school because of a torn meniscus. Gowan wants an energetic performance from her bunch, and Klingenberg provides just that.
“She just changes the whole tempo of the game, the way she can push and get steals and the way that she can gamble,” Gowan said. “Most kids you would yell at for gambling the way that she does, but she can recover and make plays. I think she really keeps us in some possessions that any other guard wouldn’t be able to do that for us.”
The Green Terror’s roster includes six seniors and six sophomores to go with three freshmen, and the rookies are fitting in quite well. Malloy Conroy, a forward, leads McDaniel in scoring with 11 points per game, and guard Natalie Mehl is third at 8.8. It’s all about finding a rotation that works and jelling before the bulk of the Centennial Conference schedule begins.
The Klingenbergs already have a natural connection despite their two-year hiatus as teammates.
“Some siblings don’t get along very well, but her and I ... basketball has done nothing but bring us closer,” Josey Klingenberg said. “When you make a good pass to your teammate, you’re excited. But when you make a good pass to your sister, it’s just a little bit sweeter.”
Jayce Klingenberg said she was excited when Josey told her she’d be coming to the Hill. Getting to play together for a second time is special, Josey Klingenberg said.
Gowan is just hoping for more success for the siblings being reunited.
“They’ve been a great little duo and they’re hilarious in practice,” Gowan said. “Just battling every day. It’s fun to watch and it’s fun to see them excel, so I’m excited to see them grow over the next couple of years.”