Shorewood's Jada Stackhouse building strong foundation for Shorewood
All-Suburban selection helped Greyhounds win conference title
Shorewood sophomore forward and NOW All-Suburban girls basketball team selection Jada Stackhouse is proud to be part of history.
And she is especially happy that she could help make it happen.
The lithe, athletic 5-10 forward was named Woodland Conference Eastern Division Player of the Year after leading the Greyhounds to their first league title of any kind in more than 40 years when they cruised to a divisional title and an overall record of 16-7.
"The funny thing was," she said, "that (the conference title) was not really our focus when we started the season. We were just trying to become as good as we could be. The last couple of years hadn't been that way so we were looking to make the most of things this time around.
"But now that we've done it (won conference) it feels so great. I'm so happy to be part of this team. We made history and that's what's so amazing. (The last title in) 1972 was such a long time ago. I'm just honored to be a part of it all."
Coach Jeff Eimers is not surprised by Stackhouse's season.
"She really came into her own this year," he said. "She just kept improving this year and I don't think she's even close to what she could be yet. She's just so athletic. She's our leading scorer, our leading rebounder and we use her to break the press. She also does a nice job on defense."
Brown Deer coach Vinnie Murray added: "She's a legit ballplayer. If she develops an outside shot, she could really, really be tough to guard in the future."
Stackhouse, who was on varsity last season, was part of a very young Greyhound team this winter and she had to adopt more of a leadership role on the court, when returning all-conference forward Robbie Holland missed much of the season with a knee injury.
"We knew we could be a lot better this year," she said. "We just had so many freshmen on the team. This time around, we were so much more comfortable with each other. We missed Robbie, but we kept on moving."
The Greyhounds won their first seven games before stumbling in a hotly-contested game with area rival Whitefish Bay.
They were 10-1 before running into a brutal stretch of losses against Woodland Conference West foes Pius XI, New Berlin Eisenhower and New Berlin West.
The second half of the season included a six-game winning streak that clinched the Eastern Division title. It was unfortunate that the Greyhounds lost their final three games including a regional semifinal to Wauwatosa West.
But a new foundation has been set.
With a young team coming back, including Stackhouse, Eimers said the goals will be ramped up next year, including earning some wins against those potent Woodland West teams.
"We still don't have a signature-style win yet," he said.
It'll become easier with Stackhouse back in the fold. The first NOW All-Suburban selection for the Greyhounds since three-year choice Amanda Schick graduated in 2007, Stackhouse is one of the new breed of Shorewood players that has made the team's long losing streak of the near past a distant memory.
How much have things changed for Shorewood?
So much so that Eimers and his staff were able to create an effective decoy play for Stackhouse.
"It was called 'Stackhouse,'" Stackhouse chuckled. "He'd call it out and I would stand there on the block waiting for everyone to guard me while someone else went in for a layup."
Stackhouse is already focusing on what will make her better next year. She wants to become a little stronger and a little more diverse.
"And I've noticed I have a tendency to go to my right hand a lot, so I'm going to work on using my left," she said.
She and many of her teammates will be involved in summer ball to improve as a team.
"It's just great to see them go above and beyond and work to get the program moving again," Eimers said. "We will get stronger next year."
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