Jenna Randich’s father asked her to make a list — two things she wanted out of basketball — and to write them down.
“I put I wanted to be a four-year starter at Olympia High School, and I wanted to play college basketball,” Randich said. “Those were my two goals I wrote down.”
Check and check.
Randich — who scored 1,122 points in her four-year career at Olympia and will play at the University of Great Falls in Montana next season — is The Olympian’s 2016 All-Area girls basketball player of the year.
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The go-to player for the Bears was also a Class 4A Narrows League first teamer and averaged 18.7 points per game to wrap up her senior season.
“Her IQ of the game is through the roof,” Olympia coach Jackie Robinson said. “You can tell she’s been playing for a long time. You can tell that she puts in the hours, the work.”
She always has.
And a lot of it has been in Olympia’s gym. Randich’s father, Jeff, coached the Bears for four years when Jenna was younger and returned as an assistant during her eighth-grade and freshman years.
“People will say, ‘Oh, the gym’s the second home,’ ” Jenna said. “But I wouldn’t say any gym. This gym. I’ve been here the majority of my life, and I’ve played in this gym the majority of my life. I think it’s just a comfortable place.”
Any place that has a basketball rolling around is arguably comfortable for Jenna.
Growing up, she coaxed Jeff into opening up the gym at Washington Middle School — where he teaches physical education — before school started so she could practice.
“I wanted to be sleeping,” Jeff said. “But she has always put time into her skill development, and if things weren’t going right (she) wanted to get them corrected.”
Randich also went to went to The Valley Athletic Club in Tumwater to shoot in the gym, or had her father back the car out of the garage so she could work on ball handling.
“He would always tell me, every day, he said, ‘15 minutes of something you want to be great at,’ ” Randich said.
She put in significantly more than 15 minutes per day and earned a starting spot as a freshman.
“The first game I started my freshman year was a summer league game, and my dad was coaching still with Rod (Tripp),” Randich said. “Rod told me, and I was like, I don’t want to. I’m not ready. But I grew as a player.”
Tripp resigned at the end of Randich’s freshman season. His successor, Tina Washington, resigned midway through her junior year and was replaced on an interim basis by Nigel Warren. Robinson was hired before this season.
“I wouldn’t have made it through it without this year,” Randich said. “This year has been amazing, and I wouldn’t have changed it for anything.”
Randich and her teammates offered the program stability, as they cycled through four coaches in four years. She said her sophomore and junior seasons collide as a blur.
“There were nights I contemplated if I wanted to keep playing here,” Randich said. “But, at the end of the day, it’s my passion. It’s what I love, I could never give it up. I persevered, just like a lot of the girls.”
Randich and senior point guard Moriah Luthy found consistency in each other.
“She’s definitely someone I can rely on,” Luthy said. “Our roles go well together because I always kind of look for her. I’ll attack, and kick it out to her so she can get her open shot. She’s reliable — especially on the 3.
“And she’s someone you can count on with the ball not to turn it over. She’s trustworthy because she takes care of the ball.”
Randich finished the season shooting 46 percent from the field and hit 43 3-pointers.
She nailed one in the third quarter against Federal Way in the opening round of the Class 4A West Central District tournament and was bumped for the foul. Randich climbed off the floor, trotted over and gave Luthy a double high-five before converting the four-point play.
But Olympia’s road stopped one game short of a 4A state tournament berth against Curtis. The Vikings built a double-digit lead early, and Olympia never recovered.
When Randich stepped up to the free throw line midway through the third quarter, she glanced over at Robinson.
“She’s right at the free throw line, she’s trying to look at me, and she knew the game was over, and I knew the game was over,” Robinson said. “And I was just like, ‘Stop looking at me. Don’t look at me right now.’ ”
Said Randich: “It wasn’t the fact that we lost that I was upset about. Just the fact that it’s over. The family we’ve become, and it’s done.”
Randich said if anyone had told her last year that she’d be so upset that high school basketball is over, she probably would have laughed.
“It’s bittersweet,” she said. “I felt guilty for being so upset that basketball was over because I’m fortunate to be able to play next year. But it was such an emotional roller coaster for four years.”
But one that ended on a peak, she said. And now she’ll go work for a starting spot with Great Falls, an NAIA school, next season.
“It’s just been amazing,” Randich said. “I’m really fortunate to be able to end it on such a high note like this.”