North Harford girls basketball put together a fantastic regular season, finishing 17-3 and earning the top seed in Class 2A East Region I.
Senior guard Jenna Amrhein has been a big reason for the Hawks’ success. With her team’s playoff opener scheduled for Monday, Amrhein talked to The Aegis about the season and playoffs. (Editor’s note: some questions and answers have been lightly edited for clarity).
With the playoffs starting and you guys holding a top seed, do you see the team as peaking at the right time?
I think we definitely are. We did just hit a little lull. We played Bel Air, it was televised, it did not go as we thought. Same with North East, we didn’t win by as much as the first time and it was a rough game, but I think with the practice we had in the last week or two getting ready, we’re going to come out strong.
By the time you play again, it will be two weeks since your last game. Will that help you out at all?
I think it’s going to be beneficial. We’ve taken some days, just had some fun, gone to team dinners. But just taking a day off, doing some fun stuff, then coming back, working on shooting, offense, defense, make everything picture perfect before playoffs. I think we needed a week to get ready. ... Other teams are playing [Friday] and that may help them, but we practiced really well this week. We had some fun and yesterday we played streetball outside. We building moments, but also fun moments.
What makes this team a real contender?
We have all our own individual talents and when we put it all together, we fit really well together bringing in speed, shooting, the ability to drive. Everyone has something different, which I think is something really special about us this year. It’s not a one-man show; it’s the entire team bringing something to the table.
I’ve noticed that about your team, you seem to be very versatile with strong inside players and strong outside players. How much more dangerous does that make the team knowing you can play different styles?
I think it makes us really dangerous because the other team doesn’t know what’s going to come at them. It could be Caroline [Nicholson] getting the ball inside, Lillian [Duffy] getting catch-and-turn shots, or Marissa [Struhar] hitting a 3. I like to drive, so it could be me driving. They never know what’s going to come at them.
How long have you been playing basketball?
I started in elementary school, probably like third or fourth grade. I actually stopped playing in middle school because I play club soccer and that’s year-round, so it was hard to fit everything in my schedule. Then I started back up my freshman year and made varsity.
Do any of the skills cross over between basketball and soccer?
Being a multi-sport athlete does help. I definitely have endurance coming from soccer season to basketball season so I don’t have to worry about getting my fitness up. I think reaction time and general agility when you play both sports improves.
You play center back in soccer, does the same defensive mindset go into basketball?
I play really defensively, I think defense is my strong suit in every sport I play.
If you had to pick the perfect ending to a game, making a winning basket or making a winning defensive stop, which one would it be?
I’d rather have the defensive stop, but it would be even better if after my stop I could assist someone for a winning shot. For me, it’s not always about the scoring. I’m a defender. I don’t need the glory of hitting the shot. I think there’s the same amount of glory in giving the assist than taking the shot myself.
Of all your teammates, who would make the best coach?
Lillian Duffy, her dad was coach, he was actually my rec coach. So, how she’s grown up through that, I can see her filling her dad’s shoes.
Who would win a team dance-off?
Lauren Nicholson, for sure. She hit the gritty in the Bel Air game and she such a good dancer.
Does that team have any superstitions or good luck rituals?
We love to have our music playing in warm-ups. We’ll go to away games sometimes and there will be no music playing, and we’re all like, ‘Where’s the music?’ It helps us warm up. Also I like to take a pre-game nap. Whether it’s home or away, I always take a nap before the game.
What’s the top songs you like to get you fired up?
“Disturbia” by Rhianna. That’s our general theme song, but the song that gets me fired up is “Hotel Room Service,” by Pitbull.
Where do you go for your team dinners?
We went to Geneva, our local golf course, and we all got club sandwiches and grilled cheeses.
If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you’d buy?
Actually, I’d probably donate some of it and then I’d definitely invest it. I don’t know if I’d buy anything. But I’d also use it to pay for college.
If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you want to go?
Greece. I want to go to Greece so bad. It’s so pretty. I always wanted to go across the sea. I’ve seen pictures of Greece. My grandparents took my cousin to Greece. I saw pictures, it was gorgeous. Also the Maldives. It looks so pretty and relaxing.