J-M hitting its stride

MINERAL RIDGE — The Jackson-Milton girl’s basketball team has been plagued with injuries all season long, but coach Pat Keney has managed to keep his girls on track, with the Blue Jays posting a 12-3 record midway through the season.

“I think once we get healthy as a team and we can go 110 percent, it’ll be a lot more fun for all these kids,” Keney said. “We’re taping three ankles up every night and have girls playing hurt. Those type of injuries kind of slow you down.”

Despite that, Jackson-Milton kept rolling on Thursday night with a 55-22 road win at Mineral Ridge.

The Blue Jays are playing up to high expectations this season. Jackson-Milton only lost one senior from last year’s team that finished with a 21-3 record.

“Last year we made it to the state regionals and we’d like to get back there,” Keney said. “We just have to take every game as a big game in order to get there.”

A big component in helping get the Blue Jays back to the regionals is a pair of twin senior guards, Kaitlyn and Ashley Totani.

Kaitlyn eclipsed the 1,000-point milestone in Jackson’s 93-19 win against Sebring and finished with a game-high 34 points.

“It’s always been one of my goals since I was little, so it was very exciting for me to do that,” Kaitlyn Totani said. “I’m hoping my sister gets it too because that’s a big goal for us.”

Ashely is just 63 points away from the 1,000-point milestone following a 15-point performance against the Rams.

It’s been a long wait for the both of them, but Keney believes it could’ve came a lot sooner, and he may be the one at fault in why it didn’t.

“I was very excited for her that she got a chance to get her 1,000 points, but I think I’m at fault because she could’ve had it sooner,” Keney said. “The last couple of years when we got up on people, I subbed kids early because I’m trying to build a program. It kind of hurt them in scoring points and I feel kind of bad about that. But I’m trying to build something here and you can’t do that if you don’t get younger players experience.”

The Blue Jays also will lean on the likes of juniors Michaelina Terranova and Emily Williams, who they need to play well in order to make a deep playoff run.

“Kaitlyn and her sister (Ashely) are a plus for the program and bring a lot to the table,” Keney said. “But we have a lot of other players on the team that play just as hard and are as good as they are.”