The Pinewood Panthers don’t specifically key on Hannah Jump when it’s time to score.
The 5-foot-11 senior is simply geared for the moment. Every moment. With an opportunity to face powerhouse Incarnate Word (St. Louis, Mo.), Jump relished every long-distance opportunity, splashing 11 of her 13 3-point attempts and finishing with 37 points and seven rebounds as the Panthers stunned the Red Knights 63-49 to capture the ‘Iolani Prep Classic championship on Saturday night.
“I shoot best when I’m not thinking about it. I was just shooting the shots when they were there. My teammates were great. They were finding me,” said Jump, who always moved without the ball.
As a team, the Panthers shot 17-for-38 from 3-point range.
Pinewood (6-0) had a No. 12 ranking in the USA Today Super 25, but was unranked by MaxPreps, which had predicated a Classic title for Incarnate Word. The Red Knights are No. 22 in the MaxPreps rankings.
Guard Kaitlyn Leung added seven points as the Panthers kept attacking Incarnate Word’s man defense off the dribble. Guards Courtni Thompson and Annika Decker were pinpoint at finding open teammates all tourney long. They combined for 12 assists on Saturday, mostly to Jump, an open target who happened to catch fire in the biggest game of their early season. Thompson and Decker also combined for nine offensive rebounds, and some of those retrievals led to connections with Jump.
“We are known as the underdogs, but once we get on the court, we just play our game,” Decker said. “With Hannah moving, it’s easy to find her.”
“Just moving the ball and looking for our teammates,” Thompson said. “We practice our movement (without the ball) every day.”
Jump’s incredibly quick shot, at 0.4 seconds from catch to release, was difficult to stop. She’d spend the previous game, a semifinal against ‘Iolani, scoring most of her 16 points on drives to the rim.
“It’s just a basic drive-and-kick motion and tonight it really worked for us. Our driving angles were great and they thought that we were finishing really well like we did last night, so they had to help with that, which left me wide open,” Jump said.
With three Division I recruits on its roster, Incarnate Word was equally superb in the first two rounds of the Classic. The Red Knights never led despite a significant size advantage — Pinewood doesn’t have a starter or rotation player taller than 5-9 aside from Jump — and fell behind 21-12 when Decker drove for a layup to start the second quarter.
The lead opened up to 14 as Jump piled up the treys. She was 4-for-4 from deep in the opening quarter, then hit another in the second as Pinewood opened the a 31-17 cushion. Incarnate Word chiseled away, going to Rickie Woltman (14 points, 10 rebounds). The Red Knights pulled within 34-28 by halftime.
When Woltman, a Purdue signee, banked in another bucket to start the third quarter, it was a four-point game. A close finish at the Classic seemed inevitable. But Thompson stepped up with a corner 3 and an offensive carom that led to a Jump 3.
With Pinewood’s best low-post defender, Klara Alstrom, in foul trouble, Woltman scored six points in all during the third quarter. Pinewood coach Doc Scheppler switched Jump to cover Woltman who got only two more shot attempts and didn’t score the rest of the night.
“I was really just focusing on being solid, not fouling her and bailing her out. Moving my feet and getting to the spot before she does,” Jump said.
Incarnate Word got as close as 40-34 before the Panthers went on a 13-2 run to finish the third quarter. Jump launched and hit all four of her 3-point attempts in the period.
From there, even with a shot clock in play, Pinewood was in control. The Panthers ran time off, had just two turnovers in the final quarter against the Red Knights’ fullcourt pressure, and the margin got no closer than 15. In all, they collected 10 offensive rebounds in the second half.
Incarnate Word’s other D-I recruits, Kiki Britzman (Belmont) and Marissa Warren (DePaul), added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
It was just another demonstration of what can happen for a team that has full-fledged devotion to pure shooting, unselfish passing and constant motion, plus relentless defense.
Scheppler was not surprised by Jump’s shooting prowess.
“She knew it was going. A shooter’s mentality is you have to know it’s going in,” he said. “There’s four stages of a shooter’s mentality: I know it’s going in, I want it to go in, I hope it goes it, I’m begging for it to go in. And she knew it was going in every time it left her hand.”