By Laura Amato
Jordan Nixon doesn’t have a favorite subject in school – she just likes learning. The same holds true on the basketball court.
The Mary Louis Academy junior is always trying to get better, anxious to perfect her game and set up her teammates and after helping the Hilltoppers clinch their first “AA” state title earlier this month, Nixon is ready to win a few more basketball games.
Nixon has her sights set on a NYS Federation title now, ready to once again expand her on-court education against a new slate of opponents.
“It was definitely a great feeling winning. So I’ve really been craving that feeling again,” Nixon said. “When the final buzzer goes off and you’re victorious, I want that again. I want that at Federations and that’s what’s been on my mind.”
Nixon’s learning curve with the Hilltoppers hasn’t always been easy – she transferred into the school two years ago after finding her academic footing at Horace Mann, before leaving the school for greener athletic pastures.
A former two-sport player – who got her athletic start on the soccer field – Nixon opted to focus solely on basketball when she noticed her grades slipping. She was in middle school. That’s just how Nixon is wired, however, determined to be dominant in any capacity, and basketball was the best option for success.
“I figured basketball was more accessible to me,” Nixon said. “My family watches basketball, my mom and my cousins played basketball. I live across the street from the park and I’m always there playing basketball, so I figured why not focus on this?”
Nixon stepped into her starting role at point guard this season, but she didn’t immediately find a rhythm on the court. In fact, it took a few weeks of learning the job before Nixon started to feel completely comfortable directing the Hilltoppers offense.
Now, with a Federation title possible this weekend, Nixon is nothing short of confident. And, more importantly, her teammates are just as confident in her.
“She came in with the mentality of seeing where the team is and what the team is all about and where she fit in,” said Hilltoppers coach JoAnn Arbitello-Pinnock. “I think that’s why it took several games for her to get into the groove and understand, hey, we need you to score and we need you to be a general on the floor. I think, of recent games, she’s done a tremendous job with that.”
Nixon knows she’s grown this season. So has the entire Hilltoppers roster. That, however, doesn’t mean there’s not room for improvement and, perhaps, a little bit of self-analysis as well. Nixon is a perennial thinker, determined to know how and why and it’s that curiosity that has helped her carve out her spot at Mary Louis this season.
“Something always has to mean something, I always need to know what something is or why it is,” Nixon said. “That’s just how it’s always been and I think it works well for me on the court as well as in the classroom.”
Nixon wants to lead her team to another title this weekend – representing the CHSAA in Glens Falls – and she’s the first to admit she puts a bit of pressure on herself. The challenge, however, and maybe the lesson here, is how Nixon responds. She’s certain she can.
“I enjoy a challenge. And I knew that coming to Mary Louis and playing this level of basketball would be a challenge,” Nixon said. “But nothing worth having ever comes easy. So I want to prove myself that I can do it.”