Jessie Matthews of Jordan has struggled through her senior season of girls’ basketball, battling a nagging knee injury.

“The ligaments on the inside and outside of my knee were stretched, so it’s difficult to shuffle or cut,” Matthews said. “I hate it because it has limited my ability to perform like I did before the injury.”

Matthews is averaging nearly six points per game for the Jaguars. They are 6-8 through their first 14 games. “I feel like I am letting the team down when I am not at my best,” she said. “I play more timid because I don’t want to reinjure it. I will be back to full speed soon.”

Here is a closer look at Matthews:


Q What is the best movie you’ve seen in the last year?

A “Despicable Me 2.”


Q Three songs I never skip on my iPod are …

A … “Play It Again” by Luke Bryan; “Animals” by Maroon 5, and “All About That Bass” by Megan Trainor.


Q Three words or phrases your friends or teammates might use to describe you?

A Funny, the mom and hugger.


Q What are your three favorite apps?

A Ifunny, angry birds and 2048.


Q At my first varsity practice, I felt …

A … nervous, but I was ready to show the coach what I could do for the team.


Q What did you work on most before the start of the season?

A My strength, speed and agility.


Q What is your favorite meal before a game?

A Peanut butter and jelly sandwich with either an orange or apple and fruit snacks.


Q What are your goals for the remainder of the basketball season?

A Play my hardest all the time, and never give into the excuses that I could make for myself to not do something 100 percent.


Q Who is your school’s biggest rival, and why?

A The Belle Plaine Tigers. The towns are very close in distance, and if you live in between you have to choose between them. So some of the players on the other team could be neighbors.


Q How do you balance school and sports during the year?

A I took a study hall this year. The years that I did not take one, I did my homework right away after practice. If we had late practice, I did it right after school. With games, I did it on the bus or when we got there. If I truly had a lot, I would wake up early. The player just has to stay on top of it; otherwise, they will get behind. For the team, school work comes first.


Q If you could change one thing about high school sports, what would it be?

A Let the coaches be able to work with the players in the offseason.


Q Name one sport that you don’t play, that you wish you could and why?

A Football because I’m a physical player. I would play it with my neighbors and family growing up.


Q Who is your favorite college or pro sports team, and why?

A The Nebraska Cornhuskers. I’m from Nebraska, so I grew up with it and I like the head coach for the women’s basketball team.


Q In 10 years, I hope I’m …

A … a chemical engineer.


Q Do you have a secret talent — and if so, what is it?

A I can drive a Bobcat skid loader.


Q What is the best sports advice you ever received?

A It’s hard to beat someone who never gives up. Give it your all because it will pay off in the end.