The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

December 28, 2012

Relaxed Swart stepping up for Drummond girls

ENID, Okla. — Drummond’s Jennifer Swart has a simple secret for her emergence as a dominant scorer and rebounder (four double-doubles in her last five games).

Having fun.

“I’m not thinking about getting my points or my rebounds up,’’ said the 5-foot-113⁄4 Swart before a recent Lady Bulldog practice. “I’m just trying to have fun and help us win.’’

She’s done that during Drummond’s five-game winning streak in which she has averaged 14.2 points. Before that, Swart was averaging 8.3 points.

“At the beginning of the year, I felt pressure,’’ Swart said. “Being a senior (only one of two on the Drummond team) I felt I was supposed to be good and lead the team.

“I had too high expectations for myself and I was pushing myself really hard. I was pressing too much. I wasn’t settling down and enjoying the game like I am right now. It makes all the difference in the world.’’

The young Lady Bulldogs were 8-3 at the break, including a consolation championship at the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Prep Classic.

“Winning is the most fun thing about basketball,’’ Swart said. “We’re bonding as a team. I didn’t expect it this year since we’re a young team and we’re all learning. Team bonding makes it fun. On the court, we don’t have any problems with each other.’’

She learned the more relaxed she played, the more relaxed her teammates would be.

“You want to make your teammates better,’’ Swart said. “We all have been improving. It helps them to have some  confidence that when they are open, you give them the ball so they can make some good shots. Overall, it helps us grow and have confidence and play better. As long as I stay calm and keep them calm and settled down, we should play the way we should play.’’

First-year Drummond head coach Samuel Hill said Swart’s teammates are learning the team concept and helping get her the ball on the low post.

“A lot of it is just being aggressive and post up strong and don’t be afraid on offense,’’ Swart said. “I used to have a bad fear of offense. I wasn’t very strong at it. I’m just getting better at it this year. I’m letting the game come to me.’’

Swart didn’t have a game in double digits as a junior as Holly Woods and Jalyn Boedeker carried much of the offensive load last season.

Now, Swart is learning to take advantage of her height on the low post.

“That is definitely my spot on offense,’’ she said. “If they lob the ball over to me, I can usually get it in. I’m getting better with my low post moves. I can usually get around  my girl to get open for the shot. My height really helps me down there.’’

Positioning and playing smart are the keys to her rebounding.

“I’ve learned if you can block them out, you can get the rebound better,’’ Swart said.

However, Swart’s biggest asset is blocking shots.

“Not to be bragging or anything, I have always been good about timing, when to get in front of a shot,’’ she said. “When I was younger, I felt really good about it. Now that I’m older, it’s just my duty to block the shot.’’

Swart has shared leadership duties with Trista Armour.

“She is a really good leader,’’ Swart said. “She helped bring me up and pulling me into being a leader. She works great. I’m being more vocal this year, but I’ve always been more of a leader by example.’’

Swart’s triple double came in a 42-34 win over Medford in which she had 14 points.

 “That was just another game to me,’’ she said. “There were more opportunities for blocks and points.’’

Swart is setting higher goals for the second half of the season. She wants to score in the 20s and increase her rebounding numbers.

“Hopefully, I will have a few colleges looking at me,’’ said Swart, who is open to any school that will offer her a scholarship. “I would really like to play college basketball.’’

She credits her improvement to Hill.

“I didn’t know what to expect from him when he first came here,’’ Swart said, “but he is the best coach that I could have had for my senior year.’’

She plays the oboe, flute and piano in the school band and is in the Red Carpet Honor Band. She sings in the Future Farmers of America chorus and in the choir at First Nazarene Church.

She is interested in studying psychology or the arts in college.

“I’m involved in a lot of things, but it doesn’t take away from basketball,’’ she said.’’

Swart gets “pumped up’’ for games by listening to Christian music.

“That gives me a lot of positive energy,’’ she said.

But don’t look for her to be singing the national anthem before a game.

“I would be too nervous to do that,’’ she said with a smile.

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