SPOKANE, Wash. — Okanogan native Jill Townsend could be lacing her sneakers up for one last time in The Kennel on Saturday.
When she does so, it will be only the third time this season her parents have been able to watch her in person. Their first in person game was just a few weeks ago at BYU.
“Boring,” said Jill’s dad Nathan of what has been the longest stretch of time their family has gone without watching Jill’s games in an arena. “That’s how we spend our summers and our vacations, and we didn’t get any of it!”
It’s not just Nathan and mom, Janell, that have been wanting to watch their daughter play.
Thanks to teammates pooling their tickets together, Jill had 29 family members in the stands to watch her score 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting on Thursday and will have 34 family members in The Kennel on Saturday.
“She’s like, ‘Grandma’s bringing cookies for the ticket people because they had to do a lot of work to get us all in.’ So my mom made cookies, and we’re going to drop them off on the way for them,” said Janell with a laugh.
Up until a few weeks ago, though, nobody in Jill’s family knew if they were even going to be able to get into The Kennel to take in senior night.
“That’ll mean a lot to Jill, I know, and to us,” said Nathan of both him and Janell getting to be there on senior night.
“We can’t go on the floor, but that’s OK. We’re there, and that’s what counts,” said Janell.
It’s been quite a week for Jill. Not only is she playing in what could be her final games in The Kennel, but she was also named one of the ten finalists for the women’s basketball Senior CLASS Award. The award is given to a senior who has notable achievements in community, classroom, character, and competition.
“That’s really big, and that really shows who Jill is. She’s a hard worker, she’s smart, she’s dedicated, she cares for people. That’s her all around. What a special treat,” said Janell.
Jill hasn’t made her decision of if she’ll take the NCAA up on an extra year of eligibility next season, so her parents don’t know if they’ll be back for senior night round two next year or not.
They do know they support her no matter the decision she makes.
“It’s her choice. She’s the one who has to do it, not us. We just said, ‘We’ll back you whatever you want to do, but let’s just worry about right now. We’ll look ahead later.’ Her goal is to get to the Sweet 16, so that’s what we’re going to focus on,” said Janell.