The indelible image of West Forsyth junior Jenna Staiti’s season must be of the University of Maryland commit standing at the high post with the arms of two (often times three) defenders flailing around her head like tentacles.
Indeed, to stop the 6-foot-5 center, it takes all hands on deck. And even then, it’s not a guarantee.
The 2014-15 Forsyth County News’ Girls Basketball Player of the Year put forth her most consistent and dominant season yet, averaging 29 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks while leading West to the Class AAAAAA tournament for the second straight season and a 21-6 record overall, the best in school history.
But the horror of trying to defend Staiti got even worse this season as more and more she incorporated perimeter shooting into her arsenal. The tentacles seemed to recede when Staiti lingered around the 3-point line.
So, as she does perhaps better than any other player in Forsyth County, she made them pay.
Question: How would you describe West’s season?
Staiti: “A lot better than last year obviously. Our record was way better. Everyone improved a lot. Everyone did a lot of good things this year.”
Q: How about your season?
Staiti: “I think I improved a lot from last year. I trained a lot for this season, and I tried to lead my team to a lot of new things.”
Q: How did you feel the training impacted your play?
Staiti: “When I got double teamed, [Lady Wolverines] coach [David] May taught me how to get through that and push through. My skill work got a lot better.”
Q: It seemed like you took a lot more outside shots this season.
Staiti: “Coach May and I talked, and he told me I was a good 3-point shooter, so he was like, ‘If you’re open, shoot it.’ I was not taking that shot last year.”
Q: Was it fun to incorporate that more?
Staiti: “Oh yeah. A lot of people see a 6-foot-5 girl going out to the 3-point line and they’re like, ‘Oh god.’ And then they see I can make it.”
Q: What felt like the toughest challenge this season?
Staiti: “The Lambert loss. That was two games after we beat North Forsyth. We were playing a lot better and we got really confident, and then that happened. That was our deepest point in our season, but then I think from that game on we started playing a lot better, playing as a team and putting things together.”
Q: What was the highlight of your season?
Staiti: “I think the North and South games, because we all played together. Everyone contributed. We felt like more of a complete team those games.”
Q: What was the feeling like after those games?
Staiti: “We had worked hard enough to show that we’re a really good team when we play together.”
Q: What things do you want to accomplish next season?
Staiti: “Well, first of all I want a region championship, and I want to reach our potential for how far we can go in state.”