Senior point guard Jayla Golden focused on getting Penn Hills girls to play to potential

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Sunday, February 21, 2021 | 9:01 AM


When it comes to stopping the Penn Hills girls basketball team, opponents know they need to minimize the impact of senior Jasmyn Golden.

However, lost in the shuffle is the crucial role her twin sister, Jayla, plays in order to run the team from the point guard position.

The Indians (6-6, 2-3) have experienced an up-and-down season as they dropped two games after starting out with a 6-4 record.

The Indians lost 39-36 at home against Greensburg Salem in Section 4-5A play Feb. 8. The Indians then fell to Woodland Hills, 45-34, in section play Feb. 11.

However, the Indians have an opportunity to forget the turbulent season as the WPIAL playoffs are fast approaching.

“I think we’ve had a very inconsistent season,” Jayla Golden said. “We gave up too many points on the defensive side. We’re struggling on the defensive end, and sometimes we’re in our own way. We need to work out more so we can make more shots.”

In the last win for the Indians, Jayla played more of a scoring role as she finished with 13 points in a 50-25 victory Feb. 5 at Gateway. Jasmyn led the Indians with 15 points.

“I need to make more shots,” Jayla said. “I need to be more comfortable and confident in my own game on the scoring side. This is my second year being point guard for the team. It has been a little stressful.

“My coaches have been great with encouraging me and expressing how confident they are with me playing at point guard.”

Last season, Jasmyn was named to the Section 3-5A all-section second team, while Jayla received honorable mention honors.

Jayla has loved Jasmyn’s progression with her offensive game this season as Jasmyn was averaging 18.3 points in the first nine games of the season.

“I’m very proud of her because I think she has improved a lot over the last year,” Jayla said. “She really carries us when it comes to the offensive side, which she might’ve been comfortable with but not as comfortable last year. Every game is big for her.

“I know I can find her anywhere on the court. I don’t know if it’s a twin thing or not.”

Along with setting up her twin sister, Jayla has been looking to get the Indians in their offensive sets and getting her other teammates such as senior guard Amoni Blackwell and senior forward Delainey Carpenter involved in the offensive end.

Jayla, who plays on the WPA Bruins AAU team, and the rest of the Indians understand what type of talent they have on the team. After some hard work in the gym, Jayla thinks the Indians can find more favorable results.

“I think we lock in and work out more and listen to what our coaches are telling us, then I think we can make a run for it,” Jayla said. “We have the talent, but we’re just in our own way. We are hoping it will end up that way, but we will have to see.”

Last season, the Indians won four straight games to clinch a spot in the WPIAL Class 5A playoffs. The win streak included a 55-28 upset win over Woodland Hills at home in the season finale.

Penn Hills carried the momentum into the WPIAL playoffs as it defeated Plum, 43-35, in the first round. However, the Indians’ journey ended after a 57-37 loss to Chartiers Valley, the eventual WPIAL champion.

In the PIAA Class 5A playoffs, the Indians lost to Trinity, 54-29, in the first round.

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