NEW FRANKLIN As one of the captains on the girls basketball team at Manchester, senior Jordan Campbell relishes her leadership role and maintaining a high level of play on the court.
Campbell, a 5-foot-7 guard, is off to a blistering start for the Panthers on both ends of he hardwood, averaging 16.2 points per game along with 4.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.3 steals.
Her numbers have more then doubled her output from a year ago when she tallied 6.7 points per outing. A vigorous off-season regimen seems to be paying off big dividends in the early going for the rising senior.
"Jordan's success is due to a good plan on her part and the coaching staff," first-year head coach Shawn Zavodney said. "She puts in the hard work, period. She played year-round playing AAU, traveling to Pennsylvania and even down to Kentucky. If she could find a place to play she went and played with the best in the Tri-State area. Coach (Jay) Anker set her up whatever he could find. She also put the fundamental work in with elite training. Quite of few of our kids did."
Manchester is looking to bounce back from a 5-18 campaign and while the early season has had its ups and downs, the Panthers are already closing in on their win total from one year ago, with wins over Northwestern (53-50), Fairless (53-44), Coventry (51-47) and Springfield (71-44) putting them at 4-5 through nine games.
"We're off to a pretty decent start," Campbell said of her team's play. "I feel that we are moving in the right direction, coming off a difficult year. We expect to have a good season. We lost one of our key players McKenzie Ferguson with a torn ACL in the third game so we'll have to recover from that, but I feel that we can still contend for the PAC-7. We're still in it."
Campbell has surpassed the 20-point mark in three games this season scoring 21 against Triway, 22 against Orrville, and 22 versus Springfield.
She serves as one of the captains of her unit, a position she doesn't take for granted. Having seen the way previous senior classes approached the role, she has a specific idea of how she wants to lead along with her fellow seniors this season.
"My role as a captain is to get everyone to bond," Campbell added. " We have a good mixture of seniors and younger players on the team. We need to have everyone together and on the same page."
Zavodney echoes the same sentiments about Campbell's leadership qualities.
"She is a leader on and off the floor," he said. "She leads by example, brings 100 percent to every practice. Ya know coaches always asked their players. Practice like its a game. Jordan does that every day. She wants to get better and does. Jordan is our captain, but we are fortunate to have five seniors, who all lead to an extent in practice. (McKenzie) Ferguson, Tristan Zavodney, Ashley Forret, and Josie Michel. Jordan and Karli (Anker) lead this team with their dynamic playing. Jordan is the one who definitely leads by example, I'd like her to get a little more vocal and she has been doing that as well."
Zavodney has had the opportunity of moving through the ranks with Campbell serving as her youth coach and up to the varsity level and has seen her grow and mature.
Having coached her at different points since the second grade - in part due to the fact that Campbell is in the same class as his daughter - the first-year head coach admitted that he has a strong connection to the group. He coached his daughter and Campbell in summer basketball and described the group as "like extended family to me."
Off the court, Campbell is involved with the National Honor Society and Mock Trail Club. She hasn’t decided if she wants to try to play sports at the college level, but does have a plan academically, where she intends to study accounting. For now, she’s trying to make sure her numbers and those of her team add up to a winning season that takes the program in the right direction.