Terra Ceia girls basketball: A family affair

Published 9:27 pm Wednesday, January 2, 2008

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
When Jordan Cantrell was putting up a career-best 38 points in her team’s win over Northside in the 28th annual Washington Daily News’ Holiday Invitational, Rod Cantrell had the best seat in the house.
Of course, Rod wasn’t sitting the whole time. He was oftentimes standing up directing Jordan and the rest of the Terra Ceia Knights. Rod is not only Jordan’s father, but he’s her coach as well.
To add a little icing to the cake, Rod has played a large part in shaping the basketball skills of his youngest daughter, Rachel, who is the leading scorer for Terra Ceia’s junior varsity team.
Rod, who is married to Gina Cantrell and is also the father of a son, Seth Smithwick, said that separating “dad” from “coach” on the court is not difficult.
Jordan, a junior who will turn 17 on Jan. 3, is accustomed to her father being her coach.
While Rachel, who leads her junior varsity team in scoring at nearly 15.0 points per game, doesn’t play for her father just yet, the 14-year-old eighth-grader does benefit from having him as a coach in the system.
Rod has been pleased with how his daughters have grown into solid basketball players. Jordan, an all-state and all-area selection as well as being last season’s Tarheel Independent Conference Player of the Year, is averaging 20.4 points, 5.3 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 4.1 steals per game.
The Cantrell sisters will be on the same floor for the Knights next season, Jordan as a senior and Rachel as a freshman.
Rod, who earned WDN co-Coach of the Year honors last season, is hoping for the best.
The Terra Ceia coach already has an idea how he’ll utilize the girls on the court.
While Rod has given tips to Rachel, the youngest Cantrell has also gotten some advice from her sister, Jordan.
Rachel, who said that passing and shooting are her favorite aspects of basketball, said she’s not worried living up to her sister’s name.
The Cantrell sisters do get on the court together on occasion, which often turns into a little one-on-one. Jordan and Rachel never could agree on who wins as both claimed they had the upper hand on the other.
Besides that little spat, and maybe some fighting over clothes (they are, after all, teenage sisters), there is a chemistry there that should work well on the court.
Rod couldn’t be more excited about the prospect. And he couldn’t be prouder of his girls.
Well, except for maybe how he feels about his daughters, who both get straight A’s in school, off the court.