Missry achieving her goals on Jaguars’ girls basketball team

Jackson Memorial sets sights on going undefeated in division play


With a fourth straight Shore Conference A South championship won along with the school’s first NJSIAA Group IV title last season, Hannah Missry came into this school year with three basketball goals at Jackson Memorial High School.

She wanted to sign a national letter of intent for Fordham University, where she gave an early verbal commitment after her official visit last spring.

She wanted to be the all-time leading scorer at Jackson Memorial — for boys and girls players.

Finally, she wanted to end her highschool basketball career at Jackson Memorial with a rare achievement — to have never lost a Shore Conference A South game.

She has achieved two of these goals so far. She signed her national letter of intent for a full scholarship to Fordham in November and then hit the career scoring milestone in a game on Jan. 26. With a 44-game unbeaten streak in A South and four games left coming into this week, that final goal is also in reach.

“We’re a lot better than people expected,” said Missry after setting her school record with 1,484 points, surpassing the previous mark of 1,459 points set by Justine Stevenson. She needed one point and scored 26 on Jan. 26 in an impressive 48-33 non-conference victory over Colts Neck High School.

Coach Rachel Goodale had pulled Missry from the previous game on the road against Brick Township High School when Missry had 24 points in the books already, just so she could hit the milestone at home.

She wasted no time, getting the record on a move she has used often this season — taking a pass in the lane for a spin move with a lefthanded hook.

“I’ve been working more on my ballhandling for this season and going to the basket,” Missry said. “I have a lot less 3- pointers this season.”

Last season, she was one of the best in the state with 113 3-pointers, including her eighth 3-pointer in the closing seconds of a 50-47 Group IV title victory over North Hunterdon High School. Missry is firing in 20 points a game this season, more than her 16.8 points per game average last season, and she is scoring off an even greater variety of shots.

She said she was a little more relaxed for that game because she had made her visit to Fordham that weekend and gave her verbal commitment before returning home.

“And I didn’t have to worry about [last] summer AAU tournaments to get exposure. I was so relieved,” she said.

She figures her broader skills will help her transition to the NCAA Division I level at Fordham, which on Jan. 27 lost a battle for first place in the Atlantic 10 to Duquesne University, 68-50, in an exciting 14-6 season.

The next goal of four unbeaten seasons lies ahead for Missry and her senior teammates. Missry said her team is on a mission to disprove the skeptics.

“We lost a lot of seniors [from last season] and a lot of people thought we’d be done,” she said. “It was tough; a hard adjustment with the young players. And then they started stepping up and we were shocking people.

“We learned to play together,” Missry continued. “We learned our strengths and weaknesses. But we had junior varsity players early and it was hard for the team to get into the flow. [The younger players] hadn’t seen anything like this, but every game they got better. They did not know what to expect.”

They do now and they know there are two especially tough challenges ahead among the four remaining division games. On Jan. 31, the Jaguars travel to Toms River High School North, a team they beat by four points earlier in the season. There’s also a game against Toms River High School East, which the Jaguars beat by only two points in the first meeting.

Although hot-scoring Stephanie Mason has cooled of late, Missry said she does many other things to contribute, especially on the defensive end. Senior Shaliyah Lyons has developed as a steady point guard and junior Morgan Williams has made some timely contributions.

“Now she’s drawing contact and getting to the line,” Missry said about Williams.

Junior forward Kelly Jamison has been hitting the boards, getting 14 rebounds against Colts Neck, as the Cougars took charge after a slow start.

As the regular season winds down, Jackson Memorial focuses on the Shore Conference and state tournaments. Defending the state title has driven Missry and her teammates during the offseason and accelerated the development of the younger players.

“We all wanted to come back and prove we’re still good,” Missry said as starters Shannon Evans, Tiffany Montagne and Erin Scheno, as well as spot starter Jazmin Curet, were among the six graduated seniors.

“And for this season, we had something to uphold.”