Rochester’s Jennings steps down after 4 seasons
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Rochester girls basketball coach Brian Jennings has stepped down after four seasons.
Jennings told RTC in a text Tuesday morning of his intentions. He had told the administration, coaches and players earlier Tuesday.
Jennings compiled a 54-39 record. He led Rochester to a share of the Three Rivers Conference title in 2020 and Class 2A sectional titles in 2020 and 2021.
Jennings was a first-time varsity coach when he replaced Lisa Pflueger as coach in May 2018. The team graduated three of its top four scorers – Kennedy Musselman, Morgan Ruff and Emma Dahlquist – in the spring of 2018, and Rochester dropped from 14 wins in 2017-18 to eight wins in Jennings’ first season in 2018-19.
But Rochester bounced back to go 18-8 in 2019-20. They had two separate six-game winning streaks and shared the TRC title with a 7-2 conference mark.
They then beat Delphi, Carroll (Flora) and Manchester to win the Class 2A, Sectional 37 title before losing to Lafayette Central Catholic in a regional semifinal game at Frankton.
In 2020-21, they went 2-4 in their final six regular season games but bounced back to beat Wabash, Delphi and Manchester to win back-to-back sectionals for the first time since 2015 and 2016. The season ended with a loss to Clinton Prairie in the regional semifinals and a 12-9 record.
They bumped their record back up to 16-8 in 2021-22 by cutting their defensive average from 47.3 last year to 40.2.
The team graduates Lexy Thomas, a two-time all-TRC post player who averaged 11 points and nine rebounds per game as a senior, and Kami Burkett, an honorable mention all-TRC point guard.
First-team all-TRC shooting guard Rily Holloway is expected to return along with frontcourt mainstays Kennedy Jackson and Millie Scorsone.
Other expected returnees include Emma Howdeshell, Kallie Watson, Sydney Haughs, Lilith Eaton and Maddie Heinzmann. Other players who saw varsity playing time who could be back include Elizabeth Weaver, Savanah Eccles, Rylee Clevenger, Ella McCarter, Audrey Bolinger and Darah Strasser.