Janowitz goes from JV to varsity starter

Fruita Monument’s Brooke Janowitz, left, drives the ball to the basket past Fairview High School’s Cassie Weber during a recent game at Fruita.

It was hard, but Brooke Janowitz took it as a challenge.

Janowitz, a starting guard for the Fruita Monument High School girls basketball team, found herself in a difficult situation last season. Like a lot of juniors, she was playing on the junior varsity team but didn’t dress for the varsity games.

“I was disappointed that I didn’t make varsity last season, so throughout the JV season I was working hard and just happy to be getting playing time,” Janowitz said.

So how in one year did she go from not being on the bench during the varsity games to being on the court a majority of the time?

“As a senior I wanted playing time and I knew that playing time was going to have to be on varsity,” Janowitz said. “So I had to get up to varsity level. I worked every day and tried to make every day count.”

By the end of last season she had developed into the Wildcats’ top JV player and her performances before the varsity games didn’t go unnoticed.

“Toward the end of last season she had become such a strong leader on the junior varsity that we saw her being a really important piece for our team this year,” Fruita Monument coach Dan Schmalz said.

“She put in a lot of time into the weight room and it won’t show because she is so slender, but she has put on 10 pounds of muscle.”

In addition to hitting the weights, Janowitz worked out with former Fruita Monument boys basketball player Colton Warneke on all facets of her game.

“I played a lot over the summer with him and he helped me work on my drive and my shot. Just having someone that felt really passionate about basketball there with me helped,” Janowitz said. “I was playing with someone better, which made me better.”

The training was focused on making Janowitz a well-rounded player to complement her defense.

Her father, Clint, instilled the importance of defense on Janowitz at a young age.

“She is a defensive player and I don’t have to count on her for any points,” Schmalz said. “Any points we get from her is a bonus because she is a beast on the defensive end.

“She likes to take the other team’s best offensive player and try to shut her down.”

Even though this is Janowitz’s first year on varsity, she has taken a leadership role as if she were a four-year starter.

“I am so happy to be a big leader on this team. Coach is telling me all the time that I am a leader now,” Janowitz said.  “It makes me feel so much stronger knowing I am a leader, so I am working even harder now. “

Schmalz asked Janowitz to talk the juniors on the JV team this season about how she became a varsity starter in one year.

“I wanted to let them know that being on JV doesn’t mean it can’t be a different story next year, because it is a different story for me this year,” Janowitz said.

“I told those girls they need to have their hopes up and know that if they work hard, they can do the same things I am doing.”

Janowitz and the Wildcats host the Wildcat Invitational, which runs today through Saturday at Fruita Monument. Here’s a look at the teams:

Columbine Rebels (1-0)

League: Jeffco

2007 Record: 15-11, 8-2.

2007 Wildcat Invitational: Didn’t attend. Defeated Fruita Monument last season 63-33 in the first round of the playoffs.

Player to watch: Randee Hayes, 6-0 post (averaged 13.4 points per game last season.)

Games: Grand Junction (Thursday, 4:30 p.m.), Central (Friday, 7 p.m. at Central), Palisade (Saturday, 10:45 a.m.).

Coach Schmalz’s straight talk: “They ran us out of the gym last year in the playoffs. They are a team full of shooters and really good players.”

ThunderRidge Grizzles (2-0)

League: Continental

2007-08 Record: 19-8, 8-4.

2007 Wildcat Invitational: Didn’t attend. Reached the state Final Four before losing to Highlands Ranch.

Player to watch: Rachel Messer, 5-8 wing (averaging 19 points per game through first two games.)

Games: Central (Thursday, 6:15 p.m.), Fruita Monument (Friday, 8 p.m.), Grand Junction (Saturday, 9 a.m.).

Schmalz’s straight talk: “They are the No. 3 team in the state and we think if we give the effort we gave against Fairview, we feel we can compete with those guys.”

Battle Mountain Huskies (0-3)

League: Western Slope (4A)

2007-08 Record: 3-19, 1-13.

2007 Wildcat Invitational: Didn’t attend. This will be the Huskies’ first opportunity to play Central and Fruita Monument this decade.

Player to watch: Amber Webb, 5-10 post (one of top returning scorers for the Huskies)

Games: Fruita Monument (Thursday, 8 p.m.), Carbon County (Friday, 6:15 p.m.), Central (Saturday, 12:30 p.m.).

Schmalz’s straight talk: “They have really balanced scoring.”

Carbon County (Utah) Dinos (2-0)

League: Region 8 (3A)

2007-08 Record: 17-7, 6-2.

2007 Wildcat Invitational: Went 3-0, defeating Central, Palisade and Fruita all by at least 10 points.

Player to watch: Patricia Smith, 5-3 guard (averaging 14.5 points a game this season.)

Games: Palisade (Thursday, 2:45 p.m.), Battle Mountain (6:15 p.m.), Fruita Monument (2:15 p.m.)

Schmalz’s straight talk: “They are shooters. Once they get past half-court, they are ready to shoot.”

Central Warriors (2-0)

League: Southwestern

2007-08 Record: 19-5, 9-1

2007 Wildcat Invitational: Went 2-1, losing to Carbon County and defeating Lewis-Palmer and Meeker.

Player to watch: Amy Kame, 5-11 guard (scored 35 points against Rifle in season opener)

Games: ThunderRidge (Thursday, 6:15 p.m.), Columbine (Friday, 7 p.m. at Central), Battle Mountain (Saturday, 12:30 p.m.).

Schmalz’s straight talk: “How do you stop Amy Kame?”

Grand Junction Tigers (0-2)

League: Southwestern

2007-08 Record: 9-14, 4-6

2007 Wildcat Invitational: Didn’t attend. Will face Palisade for first time since 2004.

Player to watch: Lisa Hughes, 6-0 post (averaging 6 points through first two games)

Games: Columbine (Thursday, 6:15 p.m.), Palisade (Friday, 4:30 p.m.), ThunderRidge (Saturday, 9 a.m.)

Schmalz’s straight talk: “They are really young but (coach Sam) Provenza has done a great job will have them competing this year.”

Palisade Bulldogs (0-1)

League: Western Slope (4A)

2007-08 Record: 12-11, 9-5

2007 Wildcat Invitational: Went 2-1, defeating Meeker, then losing to Carbon County and Lewis-Palmer.

Player to watch: Sarah Hays, 5-6 guard (Bulldogs’ main distributor)

Games: Carbon (Thursday, 2:45 p.m.), Grand Junction (Friday, 4:30 p.m.), Columbine (Saturday, 10:45 p.m.)

Schmalz’s straight talk: “Their strength is Holly Odneal; she will be a focus and gets a majority of their touches.”

Fruita Monument Wildcats (1-1)

League: Southwestern

2007-08 Record: 7-15, 3-7

2007 Wildcat Invitational: Went 2-1, defeating Meeker and Lewis-Palmer and losing to Carbon County.

Player to watch: Taylor Johnson, 5-11 post (averaging a double-double through two games)

Games: Battle Mountain (Thursday, 8 p.m.), ThunderRidge (Friday, 8 p.m.), Carbon County (Saturday, 2:15 p.m.)

Schmalz’s straight talk: “We are an improving team that can hopefully compete.”


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