Athlete of the week: Victoria Jenson, Elk River, basketball: Muscle and hustle
by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Victoria Jenson might not outrun or outjump her opponents on the basketball court, but she will outmuscle almost everyone. And she knows how to make the most of that advantage.
Elk River’s 5-foot-10 (well, almost) senior center has scored 606 career points in four varsity seasons, including two years as a backup and two as a starter. She made all-conference last year.
“Victoria won’t be a thousand-pointer but she’s had a very good career as a consistent scorer and rebounder, and good passer, too,” said coach Reed Cauette.
When the Elks won the Monticello Invitational last week, the program’s first tourney triumph since sectionals in 2006, Jenson led with 50 points in three games, including 22 in the final against Monticello.
She is averaging 10.6 points and 6.1 rebounds, while shooting 55 percent, for the 5-6 Elks.
“She uses her body to create space for herself,” said Caouette. “She gets a deep post position and knows where the defense is. So, when she goes to the hoop, she is tough to stop. She has a nice outside shot, too, but we want her under the basket.”
The Elks aren’t always able to funnel the ball inside to Jenson, depending on the opponents’ defensive makeup, but when they can, she’s tough to stop. Back to the hoop, she gives a little push, pivots, and goes over her left shoulder with the right hand.
Hustling for loose balls – she’s frequently on the floor – is another trait the coach likes.
Defensively, Jenson always takes the top post, usually someone taller and quicker, but again puts her brawn to good use, leaning into them from the front, or pushing them off the blocks from behind.
Jenson cheerfully acknowledges her limited footspeed, confident she can get the job done with her fluid coordination, ballhanding skills (she was a wing until senior high) and sheer power, which is a family trait. Her one older sib was a jumbo tackle for the Elks. “I always use my strength,” she acknowledges, adding that she’s never had to lift weights. “It’s just natural, I guess.” Still she listed her main personal goal as a senior is to “get faster with my feet” and is working on that.
Jenson, second of nine kids, and home-schooled, has played basketball since first grade and never tried another sport. One could imagine her throwing a shot and discus a long ways but basketball’s always been enough for her.
“My older brother played football and basketball, so I grew up around it,” said Victoria. “We’ve all played basketball.”
Career highlights include 24-point games in 10th and 11th grades, the Monticello tournament championship, and reaching section finals in 10th grade. She scored 77 points in ninth grade, 146 in 10th, and 265 last year, when she averaged 9.8 points and five rebounds.
“And she is one of the nicest kids you could hope to have on your team,” said Caouette.
THE JENSON SCORECARD
Personal file — Age: 18 … Family: parents Damian and Tiffany; brothers Justin, 24, Zachary, 16, and Levi, 5; sisters Madelynn, 14, Sophia, 12, Tristan 7, Graham, 3, and Abigail, 8 months …. Sport: basketball … Academics: A’s and B’s … College plans: Anoka-Ramsey … Ambition: Marine Biology
Favorite stuff – Class: American history … TV show: “Wildfire” … Movie:
“Titanic” … Music: CW, especially Carrie Underwood … Author: Nicholas Sparks … Meal: mashed potatoes, gravy, and fried chicken … Drink: Gatorade blue … Team: Minnesota Lynx … Athlete: Lindsay Whalen … Kickback: fishing … Place she’d like to vist: Rome