Soccer leader. Basketball leader. Potential valedictorian. Allie Jo Kirkpatrick can do it all.
Whether she’s helping vault her soccer team to a state title game or netting 18 points on the court — as she did at home against Faith Christian on Wednesday night — the Jefferson Academy senior has proved herself an invaluable member of the Jaguar community. And success seems to follow her wherever she goes.
In Wednesday night’s matchup, Kirkpatrick took the reins of her team’s offense to help the Jaguars balloon their advantage early before defeating the Eagles with a 50-27 final score. She sat for much of the fourth quarter, her work for the night already done.
“She’s a great leader on and off the court,” head coach Mark Sharpley said. “She’s starting to really, really find her shot too, which is awesome. She’s shooting it well, she’s leading well, and she’s playing good defense.”
She hopes to take that success, and the lessons she’s learned along the way, into her collegiate soccer career at Division II Concordia State University next year. Win or lose, Kirkpatrick has been grateful for the opportunities that basketball has provided her, especially as she gears up for her final season with the Jaguars.
“Basketball has really helped me with soccer defense, especially, because it’s helped me move my feet and had me stop diving in,” she explained. “My freshman year, I was really bad at diving into people, but basketball has helped me move my feet and honestly, basketball conditioning gets me ready for soccer season and I have basketball to thank for my knee being in shape for soccer season.”
Nine Jaguars in all got on the board after Kirkpatrick drove the pace of play through the first half, allowing more ladies to earn minutes in the second. The win came as a welcome return to normalcy after several of the Jaguars — Kirkpatrick included — missed recent contests due to illness or club soccer.
Jefferson Academy improved to 9-6 and 4-3 in the 4A/3A Metro League after the decision.
The Jaguars came out shooting well as strong ball movement, defense and rebounding helped them build a 23-3 lead at the half. They exploited every mistake the Eagles made, and continued to do so as Sharpley began phasing out the starters as the second half wore on.
Jefferson Academy saw added offensive production from sophomore point guard Rylin Chichirico and freshman forward Avah Berlin, who netted nine and seven points, respectively. Chichirico has certainly come into her own in her second high school season, averaging nine points per game, just behind Kirkpatrick’s 9.4 heading into Wednesday night’s matchup.
Now that the ladies are back on the winning track, they hope to keep that spark alive when they head to Peak to Peak on Saturday morning.
“I feel like today, we really played a team game and we passed it around really well,” Kirkpatrick said. “We were able to move the ball around the perimeter and that’s what’s made us successful as a team.”