By Ben Robinson
COVINGTON — Jordan Crowell, a senior at Covington High School, is grounded in her faith and believes God has a plan for her as she moves on to the next phase of her life.
After originally set to attend Wright State University, that plan changed as Crowell decided to pursue her education in Nursing and play basketball at Bethel College in Indiana under third-year head coach Eric Gingerich after Gingerich reached out to Crowell after scouting Covington this past season.
“I had everything set to go to Wright State, so playing basketball after high school really wasn’t on my radar,” explained Crowell, who is the daughter of Kim Crowell and the late Jim Crowell. “But God introduced me to Coach Gingerich for a reason. He saw me play in our tournament games and asked me if I’d be interested in going to Bethel College for a visit.”
And once she saw Bethel College first hand, Crowell’s college plans took a different path and she ultimately signed her letter of intent on Friday at Covington High School with her family and coaches at her side.
“Oh, I loved the campus,” she continued. “I really liked the atmosphere and everyone treated me so nice. They offered me an athletic scholarship and everything fell into place from there.”
Coach Gingerich, who will be entering his third season as head coach at Bethel College, was drawn to Crowell from the outset while scouting Covington in the post-season tournament.
“I saw her three times in the tournament and what stood out to me was her grittiness – her toughness on the court,” said Gingerich. “I really liked how she played for her teammates. We saw a kid who will fight, scratch and claw for her teammates and that’s a special trait. We’re trying to build a roster around those type of attributes and Jordan has those in her game. She’s aggressive on defense and can knock down big shots from the perimeter. She’s a gamer.”
Covington coach Jim Meyer saw those same attributes in Crowell over the past couple of years as a Lady Bucc.
“That’s her game,” agreed Meyer in regards to Crowell’s grittiness and toughness. “She was also a great leader for us, as was Tori Lyle. They both led by example with the way they worked hard and with how coachable they were.”
It all led to a memorable past two seasons for the Lady Buccs as they captured back-to-back 20-win seasons and won a District Championship this past winter.
In the process, Crowell has overcome a serious knee injury – an injury that forced her to miss the post-season tournament as a junior.
“That was tough,” she said of her injury. “My sister (Jessie) helped me stay focused on my rehab and I was able to overcome it and have a really good senior year.”
A senior year that saw a Lady Bucc team galvanize together as one unit thanks to the leadership of the two seniors (Crowell and Lyle) and win a District Championship.
“It was a lot of fun,” Jordan said of her senior season. “We set some big goals this year and were able to accomplish them together through a lot of adversity.”
For Jim Meyer, it’s going to be tough not having Jordan Crowell in the gym anymore, but he’s excited to see her take her game to the next level.
“She’s going to be greatly missed,” he said. “This is the end of a great high school career and it’s always tough as a coach to see kids you spend so much time with move on. But it’s also a new beginning for her and I’m so happy she has the opportunity to play at the next level.”
Which is an opportunity most kids don’t get once they leave high school.
“I think people take it for granted and don’t realize how tough it is to get to the next level,” Meyer continued. “Jordan worked hard and overcome some serious injuries to earn this opportunity. It’s well deserved and I’m really proud of her.”
As Crowell closes out her high school experience with her graduation later this month, she reflects on those who have helped her along the way – beginning with her mother, Kim Crowell.
“My mom, she is my biggest fan,” she said. “She comes to all of my games and cheers me on.”
She also credits her coaches, Jim Meyer and Brandon Studebaker.
“Coach Meyer always encouraged me to be the best I can be,” she continued. “He built up my confidence – not only in basketball, but in life. And Coach Studebaker has always been like a brother to me.”
Lastly, she credits her teammates.
“I really love my teammates and how close we were able to bond together,” Crowell said. “I just hope when I go to college that I can develop the same type of relationships with my new teammates because that’s what makes basketball so much fun when you play hard for each other.”
And once Crowell arrives on campus, Coach Gingerich hopes to bring her untapped potential to the forefront.
“As she continues to improve from her knee injury, we feel she has some potential there that hasn’t been tapped into yet,” he said. “We think there’s some added quickness there, some added strength we can tap into. We’re excited to see what she can do.”
And Crowell is excited about the opportunity.
“I’m so thankful for this opportunity,” she closed. “God has a plan for me and I feel so blessed to continue my education and for the opportunity to play basketball in college.”