“Horrendous.” An adjective used by head girls basketball coach Rand Rasmussen describing his senior guard, Jilian Powell, and her defensive play.
But he was not talking about the current version of his star player, he was referring to Jilian’s defensive skills as an incoming freshman. According to Jilian’s coaches, her weakness on the defensive end has transformed into one of her greatest strengths.
“I think she’s fixed her weaknesses.” Rasmussen said. “When we first got her, she was horrendous on defense. Horrendous. And now she’s got it.”
Her coach is also a big fan of her performance with the ball in her hands.
“If she’s not the best fundamental shooter I’ve ever had, she’s right up there,” Rasmussen said. “I believe that she’s actually pretty close to the school record to be our top 3 point shooter.”
Jill has proven to be one of the Lady Miner’s most reliable players both offensively and defensively by, in the average game, scoring 11 points, making nearly two assists, grabbing more than three boards, and stealling the ball three times this season.
Not so much a vocal leader, she helps lead her team by example. She is a great team member off the court as well as she has built many lasting friendships while contributing to the program’s success.
“She leads the team by the way she acts on the court,” said Madison Aulai, a starting point guard for the Miners. “When things are going chaotic she always knows how to keep everyone together. She knows her role as a scorer. We are confident in her that she can do her job, and get the job done.”
Other members of the Lady Miners agree.
“Jill and I have been playing together since we were like 11,” said Ashton Henderson. “She has great court vision and she sees things most people don’t see. She takes our team to a whole new level. If she plays well then everyone else plays better because of her.”
Powell has performed very well this season, leading the miners to an semi-final appearance in the state tournament. Jilian is shooting an amazing 46 percent from 3-point land this season. She has been very consistent in each of the contests this season.
One of her most memorable games happened in her sophomore year, according to assistant coach Charron Mason.
“We were playing Taylorsville in a [playoff-determining] region matchup,” Mason said. “We were down two points with 15 seconds remaining, and we had the ball for the final shot. We called timeout to draw up a play.
“The play wasn’t [designed] to go to her but since one of our players got double-teamed, she was left wide open. She hit the 3-pointer to win the game for us. This was a huge turning point for her… In the timeout she knew she was going to hit it. It was a varsity game, so she showed a lot of maturity.”
Once Jill’s high school basketball career as a Bingham Miner comes to a close, she plans on playing at the collegiate level.
“I’m going on to Snow [College], and I’m going with Ashton [Henderson], [Mackenzie] Bruggeman, and maybe Maddie [Aulai-Roe],” Jilian said. “I have a half-basketball half-academic scholarship there.”
Though she will be playing college ball alongside a few of the teammates that she knows so well, she says she will miss being with her team.
“I will always remember just the good times I’ve had hanging out with the team and all of the sleepovers we’ve had. There’s lots of memories that go along with it all,” Jill said. “I’m going to miss playing with the girls. We’ve been playing together forever, so I’m going to miss being with the girls as well as my coaches.”
Jill’s teammates are going to miss her great personality, the excitement, and the playfulness she brings to the team.
“She is hilarious,” Mason said. “One time after our team got off the bus she and her teammate, Madison [Aulai-Roe], started a huge snowball fight. This was probably one of multiple favorite memories of her. It was so hilarious.”
“She’s just an overall good kid,” Rasmussen added. “Dry sense of humor- really really funny- but you have to know her to be able to get her jokes.”
Powell was a huge part of the Miner’s success in February as they made it to the semi-finals of the state playoffs. The Lady Miners lost to Layton by three to a score of 41-38. Jilian led the team in her last game with the Lady Miners with 10 points , three rebounds, and two steals. A great way to end her senior year witht the Lady Miners.