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CL’s Einink among trio of county natives starring on SUNY Fredonia basketball team

December 24, 2015
By Craig Harvey (editorial@westfieldrepublican.com) , Westfield Republican

In a recent 75-71 win over the Cortland Dragons, the Fredonia Blue Devils had a cheering section at midcourt.

It was the Chautauqua Lake high school team, cheering on 2015 graduate Jenna Einink, who is now a member of the Blue Devils.

While Einink contributed in a big way during the game, she was not the only local talent who shined that day.

Article Photos

Jenna Einink, seen here with the Fredonia Blue Devils, played her high school ball with the Chautauqua Lake Lady Thunderbirds.

Also making key contributions throughout the contest were Dunkirk native Khee Nance and Cassadaga Valley graduate Taylor Storer.

Einink, Nance and Storer are the first three Chautauqua County products on the Blue Devils roster since the 2012-13 season. Fredonia's success going forward will hinge on those three players.

"There is a lot of local talent right in our own backyard," Fredonia coach Linda Hill-MacDonald said. "We have players that are future stars at the Division 3 level. I can't name them because I am not allowed to, but just take my word."

Jenna Einink

Jenna Einink was a member of the 2014 Class C New York State Public High School Athletic Association champion Chautauqua Lake Lady Thunderbirds. As a junior, she was named the tournament Most Valuable Player. As a senior, Einink led the Lady Thunderbirds to a Section 6 Class C championship.

For all her accolades in high school, Hill-MacDonald had her sights set on bringing Jenna to Fredonia.

"Being the tournament MVP at states peaked our interest," Hill-MacDonald said. "We had seen her through her senior season and we were excited about her."

During the win against Cortland, Fredonia trailed, 61-60, midway through the fourth quarter. There, Einink blocked a key shot in the paint, leading to a fast break and a basket from Sabrina Macaulay.

"I like everything about Jenna," Hill-MacDonald said. "I love her work ethic. I like the fact she is an unselfish player. She can hit the big basket, get the big rebound or get big blocks. She is an impact player as a freshman. She has had a number of really good blocks. We knew she was going to come in and be an impact player for us."

Einink is second in the team in scoring, averaging 14.7 points a game. The only person ahead of her is fellow-forward, senior Sabrina Macaulay.

"I have seen that Sabrina has done a great job of taking Jenna under her wing and helping her come along," Hill-MacDonald said. "Sabrina loves playing with (Jenna). She definitely is giving Jenna tips and talking and encouraging her."

Often times, freshmen making the transition from high school to college struggle with the speed and physicality of the next level, according to Hill-MacDonald.

Einink does not apply to that rule.

"She has made a rapid adjustment to the college game," she said. "She will continue to grow and refine her game as she gets more and more experienced. I haven't seen her back down from anybody. She has a game face and we know what we get when she is on floor and we get that every night. Her best basketball is still ahead of her."

Khee Nance

Khee Nance graduated from Dunkirk High School in 2013. She left her alma mater as one of the most decorated female athletes in the school's history.

Nance was a three-sport all-star in volleyball, basketball and softball.

In basketball, she finished her career with 1,144 points to surpass Class of 1990 alumna Karen Grace (1,005 points) and Robert Nalepa, a member of the Class of 2009.

After high school, Nance went to Mercyhurst to be a Division 2 softball player for the Lakers.

On Dec. 22, 2013, Nance's No. 4 basketball jersey was retired at Dunkirk High School. After the ceremony, Nance said, "I miss (basketball) a lot."

After playing softball for Mercyhurst, Nance decided she wanted to be closer to home, and reached out to Fredonia.

"I received a transfer request from Khee," Hill-MacDonald recalled. "I received it on my desk and immediately called (assistant coach) Rich Norton. He was ecstatic. We went through the transfer process immediately and that was the first step in getting her here."

Academically, Nance is a junior, but athletically, has sophomore eligibility.

Despite being away from basketball for two years, Hill-MacDonald has been impressed from the start.

"Once an athlete, always an athlete," she said. "Rich had such great things to say about Khee I was very excited she was coming. I got to see her play and when I did, I was very, very impressed with her overall athleticism. She is probably the most athletic player we have. Khee hasn't played since high school and how rapidly she is getting command of the game is exciting. The more she plays, the more in tune she will be. She is a phenomenal athlete."

When asked what Nance's strengths are, Hill-MacDonald did not hesitate.

"Her ability to penetrate right now and her intensity on defense," she proclaimed. "She is a great defensive player. She works really hard. She is always pleasant. She is one of most pleasant people to be around. That is infectious, I think. She has a positive attitude about everything and is eager about everything."

Taylor Storer

Taylor Storer graduated from Cassadaga Valley in 2012 and went on to play basketball at Jamestown Community College.

Like Nance, Storer had her No. 3 basketball jersey retired after graduating from Cassadaga Valley Central School.

As a member of the Jayhawks, she averaged 9.8 points a game and 4.7 assists as a sophomore. During her freshman year, she averaged 10.2 points a game.

"She has two years of college basketball under her belt and we love that," Hill-MacDonald said of her point guard.

Despite not playing basketball last year, Hill-MacDonald has been impressed with Storer's commitment to the gym.

"Last spring semester, I would pass by and see her working out," she said. "I knew there was something special. She was getting in the gym every single day."

In the win over Cortland, Storer demonstrated her 3-point shooting ability as she drained two 3-pointers in the second quarter during a critical part of the game.

"That was her most outstanding game and it certainly will not be her last," Hill-MacDonald said. "Her speed and quickness is unmatched. She is under control with her speed. You don't get that combination, but she has control of the basketball when she has it."

Now, with a stellar record and a deep bench, Hill-MacDonald is hoping more local high school teams will come show support for their alumna and northern county Division III college.

"We would love to have local teams come," she said. "Now they are in the heart of their season. What a thrill for those young ladies, and for Jenna. It was just exciting to see them all there and for them to be excited to see Jenna and the success she is having. It is encouraging for them. We would love to have local teams come. It's great role modeling for our student-athletes and great for high school players to dream. I hope we can continue to bring local athletes into our program to move this program forward."

 
 
 

 

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