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Heinold leads Buffalo BCANY in annual Hoops Festival, earns all-tournament team selection

Jordan Heinold just finished her freshman year at Immaculata Academy when she joined Buffalo’s BCANY girls basketball roster last summer. She was the youngest girl on the team.

Fast-forward to 2014 and Heinold has only finished two years of high school, but as the only returning player from last year’s team, she did not just take on a larger role, she morphed into a leader.

“I knew what to expect going into the tournament because I saw it all last year,” said Heinold, who will is also a volleyball player and track athlete at Immaculata. “I knew what the competition was going to be like and the girls were no joke and legitimate players. I had to tell the girls that this wasn’t going to be an easy tournament to walk in to.”

Coached by Nick O’Neill of Cardinal O’Hara and Eden’s Joe Dougherty, Buffalo’s BCANY girls basketball team went 2-3 on Aug. 1-3 in Johnson City, New York during the BCANY Hoops Festival.

According to O’Neill, about 18 girls attended tryouts, which were held the week before the tournament.

“They were excited and nervous,” he said. “The girls that were playing for the first time were a little bit nervous. They didn’t know who we were playing or the girl on their team. But they brought it together pretty well and gelled fairly quickly.”

Jamestown’s Chrissana Greene, Nardin’s Alyssa Lesakowski, Williamsville North’s Anna Principe and Emily Sheehan of Mount Mercy made the roster as they all head into their senior years. Summor Hemphill of Performing Arts, Kathleen Ryan of Sacred Heart, Williamsville East’s Erica Martinson and Cardinal O’Hara’s Corey Dixon, Anndea Zeagler and Brooklyn Camarra all joined Heinold in the Hoops Festival held at Johnson City High School.

“There were some returning players and some high profile girls that got on the team, but the rest of the girls were fairly even and we took the girls that we thought could make the best possible team,” said O’Neill.

Heinold’s role on the team was highlighted at the tournament’s end, when the junior-to-be was the only girl from the Buffalo team selected to the all-tournament team. She did not see the honor coming.

“My coach came over and told me to stand here and smile for a picture for the all-tournament team. That was my indication that I made the all-tournament team,” said Heinold. “As long as I play well and the team was successful, it doesn’t matter to me. But to make the all-tournament’s nice to get awards and it was nice to get.”

Heinold scored 17 points in the opener to Adirondack, which went on to only lose one game the entire weekend. The Immaculata standout then dropped 10 more points in Buffalo’s victory to Hudson Valley to end the first day of contests.

Buffalo went on to split the next two contests, as well, as Heinold once again shined in a blowout victory for the second win of the festival.

“During the game, there were points where we were moving the ball and really working together,” Heinold said. “It was a team effort and we really started putting our talent together and doing well.”

“The girls were a little more determined,” O’Neill said about Buffalo’s second win. “They started sharing the basketball a little better. Jordan Heinold had a terrific game. I think she led us in scoring and rebounding.

“She played an all-around good game. So did the other kids. I think we won that game by 30-something.”

The playoff loss came at the hands of Rochester on Aug. 3. The game was tied at the half until Buffalo’s neighboring city got the best of them in the postseason down by Binghamton.

“The expectation is to always win. To always achieve the best,” O’Neill said. “They had kids in the tournament that were going to [the University of Michigan], that were going D-I, so we wanted to prove ourselves that we could play against those kids.”

“Most of us hadn’t really played with each other,” Heinold said. “There’s girls on the team that are on my team AAU team from over the summer, but we all haven’t been together as a group. We were hoping we were going to do better, but we didn’t do too bad.”

The Buffalo BCANY boys team, coached by Paul Rath of St. Mary’s and Depew’s Larry Jones, also went 2-3 over the weekend.

The girls festival was filled with 11 teams while the boys had 10 participation.

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