Jennifer White stands in the middle at half-court in the Payson High School dome. The girls varsity basketball team thunders past her playing a scrimmage against themselves. The sound of voices, shoe squeaks and bouncing balls creates a cacophony that makes the coach’s commands difficult to hear — but the girls still follow her orders.
“There it is!” said White as the girls throw the ball at the hoop.
White is the new varsity coach for the girls basketball team. She also teaches the high school sophomore English class and coordinates student government on top of raising five children.
Asked about her non-stop schedule, White believes the kids deserve every opportunity. Any sacrifice she makes is worth it to make their lives better.
She only has wonderful things to say about her team.
“They’re a great group of girls. We’ve pushed them to run and run and I never hear them complain,” said White.
White has years of basketball training. Her son, a sophomore at the high school, started playing in seventh grade.
When he began playing basketball his freshman year, the school asked White to coach the freshman girls basketball team.
“We did great. We only lost three conference games,” said White.
This year, White felt conflicted about coaching because the girls schedule would not allow her to see her son play. She backed out of coaching, even though she wanted to continue with her girls.
Then she heard that the varsity coach had to step down for personal reasons. Her family held a meeting and decided the girls deserve a program. So she added the varsity coaching job to her list of responsibilities.
Her coaching style has differences from her predecessor. White plans on incorporating critical thinking into the game.
“We’re running a different offense. They will do a read and react type of offense. They have to think the game,” said White.
The boys teams use this type of strategy, said White.
The girls varsity team had its first scrimmage on Thursday, Nov. 17 against Winslow. On Tuesday, the team plays Globe on the road.