Sports

Murphy fitting her role, leading H-F from the point

Jaeda Murphy is a point guard’s point guard. 

The diminutive Homewood-Flossmoor junior is a pass-first, defend-the-perimeter, make-things-happen sort of player who says she always thinks about the team before herself.

“Coming into the season, I didn’t really have any goals set for me. I was just coming out here to play, to be able to work for my team to get wins,” Murphy said. 

Junior point guard Jaeda Murphy is the player who makes
Homewood-Flossmoor girls basketball go.
(David P. Funk/H-F Chronicle)

Murphy doesn’t get a lot of the headlines on a team with three players over six feet tall, including a high-major college signee, but she’s a big part of what makes the Vikings go. She was named the program’s most improved player a year ago, tends to mark the other team’s best guard and facilitates the offense. 

“Jaeda has had her share of film and practice talking-tos. She definitely understands what I want. She’s an extension of myself on the court,” coach Tony Smith said. “That’s what any coach wants out of their point guard.” 

That kind of player tends to be good in the classroom, too. Murphy is no exception, with a 3.97 GPA. She hopes to be a pediatrician some day. 

“I just love kids. I want to help the babies,” she said. 

Murphy usually helps her team when the ball is in her hands. For the Vikings, that often means getting it down low. Her post-entry passing is already beyond the level of most high school players. She works the angles to find room and knows when it’s time to put some touch on a pass or necessary to get it there quickly.

“That’s something that she works on because we always try to get the ball to the post,” Smith said. “We have good posts, and we need them to get the ball so we work on that every day. Some kids just do the drills but she’s really trying to understand and work on it.” 

That was on display in a 62-32 win over Lockport on Jan. 19. Murphy was efficient and effective delivering the ball to Syracuse signee Alyssa Latham, who scored 20 mostly on touches provided by Murphy.

Murphy scored an efficient 19 points herself, 16 of which she dropped in the first half of a game that was never really in doubt. 

“My role is just to be a floor general, make sure everybody’s in their right spots, make sure we’re getting the ball where we need to and helping my teammates out, creating,” she said. “I’ve been playing point guard forever. It’s always up to me to make the right decisions to keep my team up.” 

The Vikings are 12-6, including 3-1 in the Southwest Suburban Conference blue division. The win over Lockport kept them in the conference race, where Bolingbrook was 3-0 as of Jan. 20. On Jan. 24, H-F will play the Raiders (20-2) for a game that could go a long way toward determining the division winner. 

Bolingbrook beat Homewood-Flossmoor 57-33 on Jan. 5. It was the last loss for the Vikings, who since rattled off five consecutive wins. 

“We’re making strides and getting to where we’re trying to be at,” Smith said. “We’ve got a chance to play for conference, get a tie for first place. That’s important. Hopefully, we’re striding at the right time.” 

Regardless of what happens in the SWSC, Murphy and her teammates are thinking about the postseason, too. 

“We’re getting there. I wouldn’t say we’re full there, yet, but we’re working and going hard in practice, having the right intensity and pushing each other,” Murphy said. “We want to win that state championship.” 

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