Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune) Jessica Matheson has led the turnaround this year for Granger. Matheson poses for a photo after practice, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014.
Prep girls’ basketball: Jessica Matheson leads Granger turnaround

Junior guard has helped Granger go from sub-.500 to first place in Region 2.

First Published Feb 01 2014 05:52 pm • Last Updated Feb 02 2014 12:16 am

West Valley City • Granger guard Jessica Matheson is not the tallest player on her own team, nor is she the most intimidating. She blends in during practice without the ball, appearing largely indistinguishable from any other player.

But with the ball in her hands? That’s a different story.

At a glance

Jessica Matheson file

Height » 5-foot-5

Class » Junior

Key stats » 19 ppg, 5 apg, 4 spg

Noteworthy » Has led Granger to a 13-4 overall record after several sub-.500 seasons. … The Lancers are tied for first place in Region 2. … Started playing hoops at age 6, and developed a “streetball” style by going up against rec center competition.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"She’s got a little street to her game," Granger coach Aaron Cousins said. "She’s got a little shake-and-bake. She’s got a great crossover, all the moves. She understands angles.

"She’s only about 5-foot-5. But this is a girl that eats, drinks, sleeps basketball. It’s in her blood. She loves the game so much."

Matheson’s streetball mentality comes from a young age, when her mother pushed her to play basketball, despite no one in her family having a background in the game.

Even as a young girl, she’d spend her free time at the local rec center, developing the moves that have turned her into one of the best producers in the state. The junior averages more than 19 points, five assists and four steals a game.

"I just went out every day and played ball," said Matheson, who began playing when she was 6 years old. "A lot of people in my family don’t play ball. Just me, pretty much."

But more than turn her into one of the best players in the state, Matheson’s game also has elevated a Granger program. The Lancers are 13-4 and tied atop Region 2, rarefied air for a program that hasn’t finished above .500 in several years.

"We’re not known as a basketball school," Cousins said. "But we’re changing that culture and a lot of it is because we can rely on our team to function well. Jessica is a big part of that. …

"We have a lot of girls that have been in the program for the long time. But it really helps when you can go to a girl at any point in the game because we need a basket and she can get it for you."


story continues below
story continues below

Matheson demurs when asked about her role in changing the Lancers’ fortunes. She instead deflects credit to her teammates, who she says have bought into the program’s turnaround.

"Last year it didn’t seem like the team thought we could do it," she said. "We thought we sucked. But this year, we’ve been working really hard, and I think we’ll go far in the playoffs. … We all have the same attitude. That’s why we’re winning so much this year because we don’t allow one person to take over. It’s the whole team."

But while Cousins is quick to credit the whole team for Granger’s surge, he does not downplay the role Matheson has played. The guard complements her scoring with the ability to see the floor and generate looks for her teammates, which has been crucial for the Lancers.

"She’d love to get 10 assists before she got 20 points," Cousins said. "The girls love playing with her because they know she’ll shoot the ball and she’ll score, but if they’re open, they’re getting the ball. I think you’ve seen the change in our team because of that. Everybody is a better player. Everybody is a bigger threat because of that."

bbrown@sltrib.com

Twitter: @BubbaSLTrib



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.