BROOKFIELD — Jenna Joshi had one major goal following her first varsity game as a freshman: reach the 1,000-point mark that defines an impactful scorer.
She probably didn’t envision the manner in which she eclipsed that honor, though.
Joshi rewrote the record book at Brookfield High Tuesday night against Barlow in style. She buried a school-record 10 3-pointers, scored 39 points to smash the old school mark of 30 and notched her 1,000th career point with 2 seconds left on a 3 in the corner.
“It was unreal,” Joshi said. “It was surreal because my hard work paid off, finally. My team all together played so well that night, it was amazing. I was just on that night, I guess.”
Joshi didn’t know she was close until late in the contest, when she turned to the bench and asked. The coaches said with 20 seconds left she was one point away. Joshi did the rest.
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Teammate Holly Fleming found Joshi in the corner with time running out, and she hit one more 3 in the 55-37 win. The celebrations that ensued rivaled a winning shot, something else she’s had experience with in her career.
“I never saw anything like it,” Bobcats coach Lisa Schang said. “She had 16 at halftime and our athletic director turned to me and said I think she can do it tonight. I said no way.”
In her first game as a freshman, Joshi’s freshman produced a the winning shot against Trinity Catholic, and she hasn’t looked back since. Joshi was named first team All-SWC as a junior, averaging 15 a game. So far this season she’s averaged 19 points a contest on 37 percent from long distance. She is a career 38-percent 3-point shooter.
“Every year she’s gotten better and better,” Schang said. “One of the things we talked about going into this year was defense and rebounding; she’s the leading rebounder for our team. She’s learning if your shot isn’t on, you have to do the other things.”
Schang coached at Whisconier Middle School — where she teaches — for 10 years before taking over the varsity program eight years ago. Talents like Joshi don’t come around too often, though, and it was evident from an early age.
Joshi’s older brother Lucas won a state championship for Brookfield in 2017 — delivering the winning shot in the process — and is now playing at Ithaca College. Jenna has played the sport year-round since middle school with stints at Connecticut Basketball Club and CT Premier on the AAU Circuit.
It was there her confidence shook, though. Playing against Division I recruits for stretches as a sophomore caused Joshi to doubt her own abilities.
“I got super overwhelmed,” Joshi said. “But that’s what makes it better getting 1,000 points because I overcame it. I lost my confidence. In AAU it’s different playing with girls who are elite D-I players. My confidence plummeted, but my coaches and teammates have been great. I wanted to prove everyone wrong.”
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Balancing scoring and setting up teammates has been a four-year journey for both Schang and Joshi. The temptation to take most shots is there unless the defense says otherwise.
“It is a fine line,” Schang said. “You want to be that scorer because that’s what you’re used to, but at the same time you have to pull your teammates along with you and if you don’t you can’t win. She knows that and has done a great job.”
“I honestly don’t care. As long as my team’s winning I’ll do whatever it takes to win,” Joshi added.
Joshi is deciding between playing at the Division III level or pursuing her academic interests at a large school and playing club. Joshi hopes to study nursing.
Winning has eluded the Bobcats prior to this season, but a 7-3 start has fueled hopes of qualifying for the SWC playoffs for the first time since 2013. Brookfield has won four straight games and will face five likely postseason squads in Kolbe Cathedral, Weston, Newtown, ND-Fairfield and Bethel in the next few weeks.
“We have good chemistry this year and we could be a threat,” Joshi said. “It’s energizing; everyone’s got each other’s back, which isn’t something we’ve always had. I’d love to qualify for SWCs. I haven’t done that in my four years here, so that would be awesome.”