SIOUX CENTER, Iowa | Jordyn Van Maanen’s role on Sioux Center’s girls basketball team is much more than that of a point guard.
Sioux Center’s offense is fueled by turnovers created from its 1-3-1 pressure defense. Van Maanen is one of three trapping defenders who force opponents to play faster than they desire.
As a result, the 3-0 No. 1-ranked Warriors are averaging 32.6 steals per game. A three-year starter who shined defensively for last season’s Class 3A state tournament runner-up with 81 steals, the 5-foot-6 senior is one of four players with double-digit steal totals after just two weeks.
“We like to play fast and we like it when they go way too fast, faster than they are capable of,” said the Sioux City Journal’s Siouxland Athlete of the Week. “I help trap on one of the sides and I help trap up top with Camryn (Cleveringa) or Sydney (Gesink). That’s how Lexi (Toering) gets a lot of steals on this defense. She’s the roamer, so she reads the person I am trapping and where that person is going to throw the ball.
“We love this defense because we get steals from it, then we push the ball on offense. When we get the steal, we get easy layup. It’s a fun way to play. We all enjoy it.”
This is the fourth year that Sioux Center Coach Doug Winterfeld has utilized the 1-3-1. Winterfeld said he has at least 12 defensive schemes, but prefers the 1-3-1 because he’s able to play a multitude of athletes in the course of a game, all of them able to anticipate what opponents are doing on the court.
The 18-year old daughter of Dennis and Melanie Van Maanen of Sioux Center has 207 career steals (16 as a senior) in a prep basketball career that began when she was a freshman reserve. A Dordt basketball recruit, Van Maanen said she’s learned to read an opponent’s eyes and arms.
“Jordyn does a really good job of reading where other players go with the basketball,” said Winterfeld. “She’s super-aggressive. She does a good job of staying out of foul trouble. Sometimes, she can get too aggressive. It comes from being a senior and being one of the leaders.”
A few of Van Maanen’s 14 assists have been the result of fast-break action where she finds teammates sprinting to the hoop such as her senior classmates Toering or Shayla Post, who have respective scoring averages of 14.7 and 9.7 points heading into Tuesday's home game against Okoboji.
“Last year and now as a senior, she has come in with the attitude of being very confident with what she can do because she has been involved in this type of a defense,” said Winterfeld. “She knows what’s going to happen and that’s great from a coach’s standpoint. As a point guard, she’s one of those players who has the right to call something if she sees something.”
Offensively, Van Maanen is off to the best start of her three-year career, averaging a team-best 19.3 points, with a season-high 24 points in last Tuesday’s 81-49 win over Rock Valley. She’s scored a few of those layups off steals, but shooting from the perimeter is also part of her game, as she has made two three-point baskets in each of her last two games.
Van Maanen has made 82 three-point baskets in her four seasons. Away from teammates, she’ll shoot on her own, but during after-school sessions, she partners with Post.
The partner does more than rebound a missed three. It turns out to be a hidden part of Sioux Center’s defense, the way the partner challenges the three-point shooter.
“They rebound, but as they pass to you, they close out on you,” said Van Maanen. “They run and they try to block your shot. Doug does not discourage us to not take a three. He tells us to keep shooting. You don’t want to ruin your confidence. Anyone on this team can be a threat from the outside.”
Van Maanen also has 221 career assists, 92 which came as a junior. Her passes to classmates like Northwestern recruit Toering along with Post and Cleveringa comes from having played with them for many years.
“They know what each other is thinking,” said Winterfeld. “There’s times when Jordyn’s making passes and I’m thinking, ‘Where is she going' and there is Lexi. It’s nice to see them all back together.”
Olivia Larsen, Newell-Fonda.... The junior averaged 19.5 points, 11 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 4.5 steals as the No. 8 (Class 1A) Mustangs defeated Spencer and Sioux Central.
Hannah Dau, South O’Brien.... Among the keys in the Wolverines’ 4-0 start is the play of a freshman who in wins over Remsen St. Mary’s and Sheldon averaged 25 points and made 6 of 12 three-point attempts.