Prep Basketball

City High's Kelsey Joens following in family footsteps

HS journalism: Like sisters Ashley and Aubrey, Kelsey wants to play in college

City High's Kelsey Joens, the third member of her family to play for City High, guards Prairie's Hailey Cooper during a
City High’s Kelsey Joens, the third member of her family to play for City High, guards Prairie’s Hailey Cooper during a Class 5A girls’ state basketball quarterfinal last March in Des Moines. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Following in the footsteps of her parents and older siblings, Iowa City High sophomore Kelsey Joens has taken up the family legacy of basketball.

“Every day my family and I go to the gym and we shoot and do drills,” Joens said. “If the gyms are closed we work on things at home like ball handling and we’ll look up new things to work on.

“Every day I’m trying to improve something in my game to get better and increase my basketball IQ.”

Joens ability and focus on the game has made her one of the best players on the City High girls’ basketball team.

“We are going to rely heavily on her this year,” head coach Bill McTaggart said. “(She) constantly works on her game, (which makes her) a tremendous basketball player.”

Joens credits some of her success to her sisters, who continuously help her get better. Ashley, a junior, and freshman Aubrey play at Iowa State. Ashley leads the team at 24.6 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. Aubrey averages 4.9 points.

“All my sisters play, they set good examples and they’re my role models,” she said. “I just want to be like them or better than they are.”

She believes their style of teaching each other has helped her vastly improve.

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“We learn different things so then we just (teach) each other, and it’s great, because you get to expand your game even more,” Joens said.

McTaggart believes Joens has great potential for improvement because of her focus on the game and ability to work with her teammates. Last year Joens ranked fourth on the City High varsity in points, below her older sister Aubrey, Rose Nkumu and Paige Rocca, who all went on to play Division I basketball.

“(She) is well-liked by her teammates, and I like coaching (her) because she listens so well and is always trying to improve,” McTaggart said.

Joens plans to continue playing basketball in college and aims to eventually be able to play in the WNBA.

“Work hard, you never know who’s watching (and) play every game like it’s your last,” Joens said.

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