Trying to stop Lindsay Holy Family center Kaylee Jensen is a tall order.
The 6-foot-3 junior put up big numbers the past two seasons, and her scoring average has gone even higher this year. Jensen averaged 11 points as a freshman and 21 as a sophomore before moving that mark to 23.5 for the 17-1 Bulldogs.
“She's made significant progress since her freshman year in all areas of her game,” Holy Family coach Travis Friesen said. “She keeps pushing herself, and that's why she continues to improve.”
Playing in Class D-2, Jensen almost always is the tallest player on the court. Opposing defenses do what they can to slow her.
“They're all over her,” Friesen said. “But she moves really well and does a nice job of either going to the hoop or finding an open teammate.”
Jensen said she takes that defensive attention as a personal challenge.
“It's nice being that tall, and I know they're always trying to stop me,” she said. “I just go out and do whatever I can to help us win the game.”
Holy Family has been to the state tournament the past three seasons. The Bulldogs won the D-2 title in 2010 and reached the semifinals the past two years.
But Friesen said he doesn't dwell on the past.
“Last year is ancient history,” he said. “I make it a point not to talk about the previous year because this is a totally different team.”
Holy Family needed to reload this year after graduating four of its five top scorers. Jensen has led the way this season, as the Bulldogs' only loss came to Humphrey 46-42 Dec. 11.
“Other girls have stepped up the way I hoped they would,” Friesen said. “I'm pretty happy with the way the season has gone so far, and I know we can do even better.”
Jensen stamped her name on the school's record book Jan. 11 in a win against Niobrara/Verdigre. She scored a career-high 43 points in the 62-34 victory.
“We had three of our top six players out with the flu that night,” Friesen said. “The funny thing was that of our first 12 points, Kaylee didn't have any.”
Do the math: Jensen scored 43 of Holy Family's final 50 points.
“It's kind of hard to explain,” Jensen said. “It was just one of those nights when everything seemed to be working.”
Friesen said Jensen continues to work on her game, and it's paying off.
“Kaylee has improved in so many different ways,” Friesen said. “Scoring, passing, defense, leadership. She means a lot to our team.”
With that height and that scoring average, colleges are starting to pay attention. Jensen is not in a hurry to make that decision.
“I just want to help us get back to state right now,” she said. “If we keep playing hard, I think we can do that.”
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