Skilled Sterzer helping lead Taylorsville girls basketballJan 05, 2024 01:23PM ● By Josh McFadden
Taylorsville’s Jenna Sterzer (in blue) goes to the hoop in a game earlier this season. Sterzer is one of the top rebounders in the entire state. (Photo courtesy of Jenna Sterzer)
On the heels of a 14-8 record in 2022–23, the Taylorsville girls basketball team got off to a 4-3 start this season. A big part of the team’s play has been senior center Jenna Sterzer.
Through the first seven games, Sterzer was the team’s second-leading scorer, averaging 9.7 points per game. She also averaged one block and one steal during this stretch. But where she really excels is rebounding. Sterzer paces the Warriors and is second in the entire state and first in Class 5A in rebounding with an average of 12.6 boards a game.
Sterzer has already had some big games this season.
In the first seven games, she posted four double-doubles, with perhaps her most productive outing being in game one at home against Summit Academy Nov. 17, 2023. In a 58-48 victory, Sterzer scored 16 points and pulled down 19 rebounds. She duplicated that 19-rebound effort 12 days later in a 55-45 loss to Maple Mountain—a game in which she also scored 13 points. Sterzer also had 11 points and 13 rebounds at Weber on Nov. 21 and tallied 14 points and 17 rebounds Dec. 8 at Murray.
Her production in scoring and rebounding are both up from her junior season. Last season she averaged 7.9 points and 8.4 rebounds. As a sophomore, she came off the bench to score 1.4 points a game and total 2.7 rebounds a contest. A four-year contributor, Sterzer had a 2.8 scoring average and five-rebound average as a freshman in 2020–21.
A talented and hard-working player, Sterzer is also humble.
“I can't take the credit all on my own because I know it did not come from me,” she said. “I am very blessed and acknowledge my God-given skills. I would say my strong suit is that I am a strong rebounder. I feel like I bring experience to the team because I have been starting varsity since my freshman year. I also feel like I bring leadership to the team. I try to lead by example on and off the court, and I want my teammates to know and feel like they can depend on me.”
Sterzer has played basketball since age 7 when she began at the Jr. Jazz level. She continued to play into junior high school but wasn’t too serious about the sport yet. It wasn’t until she got to Taylorsville when she developed a true passion for basketball.
You could say that athleticism was in her blood. She has also had great support from her family and coaches.
“My whole family is very athletic, and I have grown up watching my older brothers play all kinds of sports in high school and college, including basketball,” she said. “I would say my three older brothers and my parents got me interested first, but my high school coach, Reggie Jewkes, really kept encouraging me to play and push myself to get better.”
Speaking of her coach, Jewkes has had a big influence on Sterzer and her development and her love for the game. Sterzer has had a tremendous experience playing for the Warriors.
“[Jewkes] has mentored me since my freshman year, and I've had so many great examples and role models surrounding me at T’ville,” she said. “My brothers all went to Taylorsville, so I was always so excited to go there. I love the support we have for each other on the team, and how we treat each other like family. I couldn't have asked for better teammates and coaches to play alongside my high school career.”
Ever improving and looking for ways to help the team win, Sterzer wants to be a better player each day.
“I am working on doing my best at every game and not dwelling on my mistakes,” she said. “Instead, I am trying to improve on skills that I already know I do well and working on the ones I need to be stronger at. I am also working to maintain and perfect the fundamentals of the game.”
Taylorsville faces some different challenges this season as a new member of Class 5A’s Region 4 after having previously competed in 6A. The Warriors were second in Region 2 a year ago with a 9-3 record and narrowly lost in the first round of the 6A playoffs, falling to Layton 47-45. Sterzer and her teammates have their sights set on a Region 4 championship and a run in the 5A playoffs.
Individually, Sterzer wants to continue her scoring and rebounding prowess. She wants to be the best she can be but remain humble.
“I want to be the leading rebounder and double-double holder of the state by the end of the season,” she said. “I have also been working on more personal goals to better my game. One of my favorite quotes is by Michael Jordan. He said, ‘I went into every game believing I was the best player on the court until someone proved otherwise.’ A goal of mine is to keep living by this motto and keep my sportsmanship.”
For Taylorsville to be successful this season, Sterzer believes she and her teammates need to be resilient and shake off losses.
“For this season to be a success, my team and I will keep up our discipline and come back stronger from bad games,” she said. “I have already seen how this has helped us grow, as a team and individually.”
After she graduates from Taylorsville this spring, Sterzer intends to go to college and study both sports and cognitive psychology as well as history. She hopes to play basketball at the next level, too. λ