By Les East
Jordan Berry is adding to the Berry family basketball lore.
She provided a memorable chapter when she knocked down a game-winning jumper in the final second to lift Mount Carmel to a 32-31 Senior Night victory against Dominican on Thursday at Mount Carmel.
It was a dramatic climax to a night that was pre-determined to be one honoring Berry and fellow senior Megan Bickmann for their final District 9-5A home game.
Berry, with an assist from Bickmann, made it an even more special night for herself, her fellow senior and the entire Cubs family.
“I was glad to see her senior night be so heroic for her,” Mount Carmel coach Jamie Thomatis said. “She took it upon herself to will this team to victory on her Senior Night.”
Various members of the Berry household have taken turns providing memorable moments, games, seasons and careers through their basketball exploits.
Jordan is the sister of former Cubs standout Taylor Berry, now a senior at Alabama, and a daughter of Stacey Gaudet Berry, one of the most decorated players in Tulane University history, who is now an assistant coach at Mount Carmel.
Now it’s Jordan’s turn.
During the post-game celebration Thursday, Thomatis started talking about Jordan emerging from Taylor’s “shadow.” Then she stopped herself and rephrased.
“Not shadow,” Thomatis said. “Jordan has had a spectacular career on the heels of her sister. She has paved her own way. She has run her own race here at Mount Carmel.
“She won a state championship her freshman year. Then she had a team that won eight games her sophomore year. Her junior year she was responsible for raising a bunch of freshmen and she took that by the horns. So it’s only fitting that she has this magnitude of a year her senior year. Legitimately, we feel like we have a shot at winning another state championship.”
The Cubs’ quest for a state championship begins in a couple of weeks, but Thursday’s come-from-behind victory against an arch-rival gave the team a big boost.
Berry had just three points as Dominican built a 25-16 lead midway through the third quarter.
Then she took over the game.
“I started off pretty slow, but my team and my coach kept encouraging me,” Berry said. “It just turned out I got a little streaky. We just kept fighting and weren’t going to give up.”
She made four free throws and a jumper as part of an 8-2 run that pulled the Cubs within 27-24 at the end of the third quarter.
Her jumper reduced the lead to one before Kate Baker’s 3-pointer gave Dominican a 30-26 lead.
Addison Prince’s layup cut the lead in half with 4:10 left and neither team scored again until the frantic final minute.
Baker made one of two free throws and Berry answered with two free throws to pull the Cubs within one with 20 seconds left.
Dominican missed the front end of a one-and-one, Mount Carmel rebounded and Thomatis called her last timeout with 13 seconds left to draw up a play.
Berry missed from under the basket, but the Cubs forced a held ball on the rebound, and the alternating possession gave them the ball with 3.9 seconds left.
With no timeouts, Tomatis had to improvise a play from the sideline.
“They went on auto-pilot,” Thomatis said.
Bickmann couldn’t find anyone open on the in-bounds play so she lobbed the ball over everyone and Berry chased it down near the top of the key.
“Meagan had the wherewithal to make sure that ball didn’t get stolen and to get it in play and give us a chance,” Thomatis said. “Jordan chased it down and did what she did.”
Once Berry corralled the ball she quickly turned, dribbled toward the lane and launched a 12-foot jumper on the run that swished.
“I was just thinking, there’s three seconds on the clock, I’ve got to get to the hole,” Berry said. “It just turned out that I wound up making it, but we wouldn’t have been able to get there without my teammates who got the rebound, who got the jump ball. I finished the play but we all finished it together.”
But it was Berry who had 12 of her game-high 15 points down the stretch, giving her 12 of her team’s final 16 points.
“She came out toward the end of that third quarter and just put on a show,” Thomatis said. “She was just on fire.
“She has been so fruitful – in the stat book, in the win column. It’s only fitting that it culminated like that on Senior Night for that child.”
“This was the prefect night,” Berry said, “and I have the perfect family/team to share it with.”