Gordon grows as leader for PatriotsNovember 13, 2019
By COREY STOLZENBACH
LINCOLN CITY — Rebekah Gordon has seen changes within her team and within herself as a junior this year.
The standout player for Heritage Hills has done a lot of weightlifting to physically mature. Gordon used to see herself as scrawny and lengthy, but now sees herself as more fit. She said she’s a lot stronger and tougher than she was 6 to 12 months ago.
Heritage Hills coach Kim Brown wants Gordon to be more of an outside shooter this year. She took over with her inside game when the Patriots defeated Northeast Dubois, 56-19, on Nov. 5, but experimented more with her perimeter shooting when her team lost, 52-49, on Nov. 7 at Crawford County. Gordon connected on a pair of 3-pointers, which helped her tie for a game-high 23 points. She called herself a versatile player, and will base her approach to a game off of what she faces on defense. Gordon credits her versatility with being more confident as a shooter compared to passing up shots in the past. Now, if she has room, she’s taking the shot.
Gordon said she knows how to lead by example, but one goal she has this season is to improve on her vocal leadership. She thinks she’s improved in that aspect because she has talked more during team timeouts.
She added the team is more confident as players are getting more varsity experience. Gordon cited fellow juniors Nevah Barnett and Kylee Appman, as well as sophomore Madison Begle, as players who have shown said increase in confidence. The four of them and the rest of the Patriots are trying to get over the hump once it’s time for sectionals. Heritage Hills went a combined 34-10 during Gordon’s first two years of high school, but bowed out in the sectional opener both times. The Pats lost, 42-40, to Mount Vernon (Posey) when she was a freshman in 2018, and 69-52 to Gibson Southern as a sophomore in 2019.
Gordon believes this year can be different.
“We can certainly play for the sectional championship, that’s for sure,” Gordon said.
Her scoring production has been on the rise so far in this young season. Gordon averaged 16.5 points per game as a sophomore, and has averaged 21.5 points in her two games as a junior. She dropped 20 against the Jeeps and has racked up double-doubles in both of her games as a junior with 10 rebounds each. Those efforts earned her a Player of the Week honor by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association. Gordon said her early scoring increase goes back to her taking more outside shots and driving to work around the opposing defense to get to the basket.
Gordon scored only four points in the first half against the Wolfpack, and the Pats found themselves facing a 23-9 deficit at the half. That was when she told herself she needed to score more to trim the deficit. Both of her threes came in the latter half of play after it clicked that she had to step up. She said Crawford County compacted the middle that led her to use more of her outside game, while the inside game was easier against Northeast Dubois because she had a size advantage.
She is a three-sport athlete, also taking part in volleyball and track at Heritage Hills, but said basketball is her favorite. Gordon has been playing travel basketball since she was in sixth grade, and is a member of Indiana Flight UAA. She said being in travel ball has made her a lot tougher, and it’s taught Gordon her position on the court.
Gordon said her love of basketball partially comes from being in a family of athletes. Gordon has three siblings: Ben, a football and baseball player who graduated from Heritage Hills in 2019; Miriam, a seventh grader who plays basketball, volleyball and softball; and fifth grader Matthew, who plays football, baseball and basketball. Father Brandon played football and basketball in high school. Rebekah said she has learned a lot in coming from an athletic family. This also has led to her to become a better athlete and love her school more.
Heritage Hills takes the floor at 7 p.m. Thursday at Evansville Reitz for its first action in seven days. Gordon said the team has worked a lot on blocking out in practice. She said the layoff has allowed the Patriots get their minds right to focus on how to play their own game. The Pats scored a 48-22 win Nov. 8, 2018, against the Panthers. Gordon contributed 15 points, and said taking the ball down the court in the press breaker helped. She said doing that and staying out of foul trouble will be the keys to victory. Heritage Hills had 27 fouls in the loss to Crawford County, and Gordon will look to keep improving on her vocal leadership Thursday.
“I need to communicate with my teammates better,” she said.
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