- Associated Press - Saturday, April 8, 2017

LOGANSPORT, Ind. (AP) - He is one of the greatest players in Logansport history in boys basketball.

She is one of the greatest players in state history in girls basketball.

Together, they are the highest scoring brother/sister combo in the storied history of Indiana high school basketball.

Matt Jennings just completed his career as Logansport’s second all-time leading scorer in boys basketball with 1,781 points. Whitney Jennings, the 2014 Miss Basketball, is Logansport’s all-time leading scorer and currently ranks eighth in state history in girls basketball with 2,641 points.

Their 4,422 combined points is tops among all brother/sister duos, according to the IHSAA website.

“It’s definitely cool to maybe have that title, if so - I don’t know if it’s official - but yeah I think Matt and I both, we’ve had a lot of really great teammates in high school and coaches. That’s enabled us to have really good high school careers,” Whitney said.

Matt added, “We’ve been blessed to be part of such good basketball programs here at Logansport, always have had great teammates, coaches and players around us. Then along with our family, basketball has been such a big priority in our minds. So we’re definitely blessed to be around such a great community when it comes to basketball.”

Whitney averaged 9.3 points per game through two seasons at Iowa. She started as a freshman on the Hawkeyes’ Sweet 16 team in 2015.

But she transferred to Butler following her sophomore season and had to sit this year out, per NCAA rules.

Because of that she got to watch Matt and the Logansport boys record a historic season, as the Berries recorded their best regular season in program history, won their first North Central Conference title in boys basketball in 40 years, recorded their first-ever undefeated season in NCC play and finished with a 23-2 record.

“I was probably at like 80 percent of his games this year, so to me that was almost like the biggest blessing because I do love watching him play so much,” Whitney said. “He’s definitely my favorite player to watch and no one stresses me out more or gives me more anxiety than watching him just because I want him to do so well every game. That was definitely a huge blessing for me this year.

“They had a great year. It’s unfortunate they couldn’t make a run in the tournament but to be NCC champs for the first time in so long, yeah, they definitely will be able to look back on this year and remember. And I had such a memorable senior year. I think for Matt to have this is really special as well.”

Both Jennings are scoring point guards, with Matt being 6-foot tall and Whitney being 5-5. Their father Doug was known as a great all-around player and shooter at Argos and later Indiana Central University (now Indianapolis), but he has said he did not have the quickness and ball-handling ability of his two youngest.

Both Matt and Whitney credit each other for helping each other’s games.

“I was definitely fortunate to have an older sister like her growing up teaching me the ways of basketball,” said Matt, who is getting a full-ride scholarship to play basketball at Grace College. “I would like to say she’s probably my biggest mentor when it comes to playing basketball. I’ve learned so much from her. I’ve watched her play so many games.

“I’m just thankful that she let me steal all her moves.”

Whitney quickly countered: “We talk pretty much every day for the most part and he’ll send me a YouTube clip and say ‘you need to incorporate this into your game, Whit.’ So honestly it’s been mostly him over the years, as he’s obviously gotten better, of showing me stuff.”

The two played together for one year at LHS. During Whitney’s Miss Basketball season of 2014, Matt was a starter on Logan’s boys team as a freshman which also marked coach Pat Skaggs’ first season at the helm.

While Whitney’s Lady Berries teams went 86-14 (.860) during her high school career, Matt’s Logansport squads went 71-23 (.755), which is the best four-year run for Logan boys basketball since 1932-36, when the Berries went 94-26 (.783) under Cliff Wells.

Whitney’s No. 15 jersey was retired before she even graduated high school. Matt was grandfathered in to wearing No. 15 but he outgrew the jersey, literally, over the past year. That helps explain how the Berries, led by a bunch of juniors, went 15-9 in 2016 and how as seniors they improved to 23-2.

It’s been years since Matt and Whitney have played against each other in one-on-one.

“I think when I was about eighth grade or going into freshman year he started to be able to beat me at one-on-one, so that’s when I was like we’ve got to stop playing because I can’t lose to my little brother,” Whitney said. “I would not play him anymore and it always ended in a fight if I didn’t win.”

Whitney still owns an impressive record against Matt.

“All the matchups we played one-on-one it’s probably about 100-3, because after I beat her a couple times she wouldn’t play me anymore,” Matt said.

Their older three siblings were also standouts for the Berries. Shannon started alongside Jasmine Penny on a sectional championship team in 2007. Jared started on a 15-6 Logan team his senior season in 2010. Rachel was perhaps the best long-range bomber of the five in high school and averaged nearly 15 ppg on the 2013 team that went 25-2. She started alongside Whitney for three seasons.

“Looking at our family, Matt and I ended up having the best high school careers you could say out of everyone, but we owe a lot to Shannon, Jared and Rachel for just kind of paving the way and helping us because really they were our mentors,” Whitney said. “I looked up to Shannon, I looked up to Rachel. Matt, obviously he and Jared are so close. I think having those three pave the way enabled us to have such success.”

“I go back to growing up we always in the summers would go to the gym at like 6:30 with my dad and Rachel, Shannon and Jared,” Whitney continued. “Looking back I feel so bad for my mom because we would always come home and everyone would be so mad at each other. Matt and I would be mad at each other and Dad would get mad at us for fighting and we always just wanted to be better than each other. Matt and I are probably the two most competitive people in our family and I think that’s helped drive us.”

Doug Jennings deserves a lot of credit for all of the Berries’ success over the last decade-plus in basketball, not only because of training his own athletically gifted kids but also helping coach their friends in youth basketball throughout the years. He was also an assistant under Jerry Hoover for the girls program while his daughters were in high school.

It’s probably no coincidence that both the girls and boys programs at LHS reached unprecedented heights while his kids were in school.

“He’s just always had us playing basketball,” Matt said. “He put a ball in our hands at such a young age. I think he’s just had us go through so many drills and play so much basketball over the years that eventually you’re going to get pretty good at this.”


Source: (Logansport) Pharos-Tribune, https://bit.ly/2n4MfEG


Information from: Pharos-Tribune, https://www.pharostribune.com

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