Cantrell dribbling into her future|Former Washington, Terra Ceia star to play at Randolph-Macon

Published 2:29 am Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sports Editor

Jordan Cantrell has always been in the limelight.
The recent Washington High School graduate was a star at Terra Ceia Christian School before having a solid senior year with the Lady Pam Pack. The talented and driven Cantrell will continue her academic and athletic career at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va. There, Cantrell hopes she’ll continue to be a “big fish in a small pond.”
A three-time Washington Daily News’ All-Area First Team selection, Cantrell is excited to join the Yellow Jackets’ basketball program.
“I had a good connection with coach (Carroll) LaHaye,” Cantrell said of the veteran Randolph-Macon basketball coach. “It was so much different than everywhere else I went to. I just felt like it was a good fit for me. I just feel like I fit with her type of play.
“I’m excited; I like a challenge. I think I’ll be a little nervous, but, once I get there, I’m going to love it.”
One of the biggest changes for Cantrell will be leaving home for the first time. She’ll leave behind a close-knit family, including her sister, Rachel, a rising sophomore who played alongside Jordan last year at Washington.
“I’m going to miss my family,” Cantrell said. “I’ll miss these people here, but it’s that time. I’m ready for it.”
Cantrell was a point-producing machine in high school, finishing with over 2,000 points in her career.
As a senior, in her only year at Washington High School, she averaged 11.0 points, 5.0 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game.
Cantrell, the daughter of Rod and Gina Cantrell, had to make an adjustment to playing at a bigger school. While admitting that it was a difficult adjustment after spending her kindergarten through junior years at Terra Ceia, Cantrell is glad she tried it.
“Everything happens for a reason,” Cantrell said. “I think it helped me move on and get used to a different coach, and adapting to different teammates and a different style of play. It was a struggle at first, but I think I needed that to play at the college level.”
She left Terra Ceia after leading the state in scoring her junior season, pouring in 726 points and averaging 22.0 points per game while leading the Knights to a Final Four finish in the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Class 1-A state playoffs.
The hard-driving guard with a deft touch also averaged 7.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 4.6 steals a game. Her 137 total steals ranked second highest in the state, while her 153 assists total was fourth best.
Cantrell pumped in 575 points as a sophomore, when she led the Knights to an Elite Eight finish, and 475 as a freshman.
She was the leading scorer, team Most Valuable Player and an all-conference selection in each of her three seasons at Terra Ceia.
Cantrell, tabbed the Tarheel Independent Conference Player of the Year and an all-state selection in both her sophomore and junior seasons, was a fixture at Terra Ceia.
“I had my dad coaching me,” she said. “Everybody in the stands was like family. We were all so tight and there was a real bond.”
She said it was hard to walk away from Terra Ceia, and walking away from Washington won’t be easy, but she’s prepared.
Cantrell, who plans to study business in college, is ready to take the next step in her basketball career.
“I just want to bring what I’ve always been best at, which is my leadership and enthusiasm,” Cantrell said. “I just want to give it my all.
“I think it’s going to be a good experience for me.”
While Cantrell has some God-given talents, she also works extremely hard at her game. Cantrell said that Omar Parker, a basketball guru of sorts in the Washington area, has helped her game tremendously.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help he has given me over the past couple years,” Cantrell said. “Mentally and physically, he’s helped change my game.”
Her hard work has paid off with a chance to play college basketball. Cantrell will join a Randolph-Macon team that went 23-6 overall and 17-3 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC). The Yellow Jackets, a Division III program, have been solid in recent years, averaging 25 wins per season over the last five years.
Randolph-Macon has won the ODAC regular-season championship six times, including 2007, and has made seven NCAA tournament appearances.
Cantrell is hoping to make an impact with the team her freshman season.
“I want to establish my spot on the team,” said Cantrell, who expects to play point guard. “I want to click with the team, and give it my all. I want to go in there every game and put points on the board, get assists, steals and take charges.
“I want to get Freshman of the Year. I think that would be awesome.”
Cantrell is excited about the opportunity to play, and is glad she landed in a smaller Division III program.
 “I like the small schools,” she said. “I want to be a big fish in a small pond.”
Cantrell is ready to get started, and ready to make a big splash with the Yellow Jackets.