FORT DEFIENCE – Let’s not get this twisted. Jordan Sondrol is thrilled that she passed the 1,000-point mark for her high school career Saturday afternoon, but that milestone is not even close to the most important thing she wants to accomplish this season.
“I would give up my 1,000 points to get a state championship,” said the Wilson Memorial senior. “I think it’s that important and I think all of our girls have worked so hard for it.”
Wilson Memorial reached the 2A state semifinals last year before losing and with five seniors on this year’s squad, all five who have played on varsity since they were freshmen, the goal this year is clear — win it all.
But on that path to reaching the goal there have been some scenic stops along the way. The most notable has been two of those seniors reaching 1,000 points for their career. Last month Lexi Deffenbaugh got to that milestone in a win over Alleghany. Saturday, Sondrol joined her teammate and friend when she capped a Wilson fastbreak with a bucket in the lane.
Deffenbaugh started the break, passing ahead to Morgan Rowe who got the assist on Sondrol’s bucket with 5:16 left in the third quarter. That’s not exactly how Sondrol had drawn it up in her head. When Deffenbaugh scored to go over 1,000, Sondrol had the assist. Deffenbaugh wanted to return the favor and the two had talked about doing just that.
“I was so upset about that,” said Deffenbaugh. “We talked about that on the bench, but I’m glad Morgan got to do it. And I got to start the play so I was good with that.”
Wilson Memorial coach Jackie Bryan said having two players on the same team reach that mark is special for the program.
“I don’t think either one of them ever really came in for that purpose only, to score 1,000 points,” said Bryan. “But I think they realize if you work hard and do what you’re supposed to on varsity you can get that.”
Sondrol came into the day needing 15 points to reach 1,000, but when she hit the basket to get to that mark she thought she only had 13. She only realized she was there when officials stopped the game and awarded her the game ball.
Sondrol said accomplishing this feat the same year as Deffenbaugh made it even more amazing. The two have been good friends for years and, in addition to playing high school basketball together, also play on the same AAU team. This past summer that team was the Virginia Belles, the first year the duo played for that team.
“She has an infectious smile and you’re not going to take the smile off her face,” Belles’ coach Phil Stinnie said of Sondrol, “but she is out there working her butt off. Doesn’t matter if she’s guarding somebody 5-2 or 6-5, she is going to be working and she is going to do whatever it takes to make her team successful.”
While Deffenbaugh said last month that she had the 1,000-point mark as an individual goal since elementary school, Sondrol didn’t even start thinking about it until last season when she averaged 15.6 points a game and was named the News Leader’s All-City/County Player of the Year.
“I hadn’t ever thought, freshman, sophomore year, that I was ever going to get it,” said Sondrol. “I wasn’t a starter freshman or halfway through sophomore year so I was just thinking about winning and then one day they were like, ‘Oh yeah, it’s a reachable goal.’ It was crazy.”
Sondrol also got to share the moment with her younger sister, Sarah Sondrol, who is a sophomore for the Hornets. The older sister wasn’t too nervous before the game, but her younger sibling was a little anxious.
“I wanted her to do it,” said Sarah Sondrol, who admitted she came close to crying when the moment arrived Saturday afternoon. “But I knew she could do it because she’s amazing.”
In addition to scoring, Sondrol is looked upon to haul in rebounds. She had nine on Saturday, giving her 561 for her career.
“When I don’t have the ball I definitely work on getting putbacks because those are probably the easiest baskets you can get,” said Sondrol. “[Rebounding is] a really big part, especially on defense preventing the other team from getting offensive rebounds.”
Sondrol averaged almost nine rebounds a game last year, but knew she would have to work even harder on that aspect of her game this year with the loss of Leara Shumate, who added eight boards per game and formed a formidable rebounding duo with Sondrol.
Sondrol has been playing basketball since she was 5, starting out working with John Spears at the Waynesboro YMCA. She continued working with Spears until two years ago, playing on his AAU team into her high school years.
“[Spears] was huge, huge,” said Sondrol. “He definitely taught me everything I know now, fundamental-wise, how to finish things, my passes, my rebounds, how to do some things, footwork. So he’s been a big part.”
Spears called Sondrol the “rock” on that AAU team, saying whenever she was out of the game her team suffered.
“She won me over years ago with her work efforts and tremendous passion for the game,” said Spears. “She committed herself to get in better physical shape and she can run the floor with the best now. She always did possess a nice mid-range jumper but I needed her in the Post. I would say she is one of the better outside shooters now in our area.”
Basketball will continue to be part of Sondrol’s life after this season. She has narrowed her choice of colleges, where she will play hoops, to Shenandoah University in Winchester and Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk. She has no timetable on when she’ll choose between them.
For now, she’ll concentrate on that state championship and the rest of her high school career. And, at least for a day or two, she’ll enjoy being the latest Wilson Memorial Hornet to reach 1,000 points.
“It means a lot,” said Sondrol. “It’s just like another milestone in our season.”