I don’t know if she’s ever disagreed with me. I’ll call her over and tell her something, and sometimes she’d give me a look like ‘Really?’ But she never argued. She always, always did what you asked her to do. Such a good leader, a good example she set by doing what the coach wanted her to do and playing a team game. – Sky View head coach Kimber Hall

SMITHFIELD — Liz Jensen enrolled her adorable, only daughter in dance class when she was just a toddler.

It did not take her long, however, to figure out Lindsey Jensen wasn’t a dancer.

“Anybody who knows Lindsey knows she is a baller,” Liz said laughing. “That’s her priority in life. … We started her in dance class, but she was bored with it.” While most children signed up for Smithfield’s recreational basketball program in kindergarten, the Jensens decided their active little girl could try the sport at 4.

“We signed her up a year early,” Liz said. “She doesn’t ever sit and watch TV. That’s why basketball is her favorite; it’s such movement.”

The Sky View senior’s passion for basketball began about the time she learned to tie her own shoes and only intensified as she grew. In fact, her dedication may be the only attribute that exceeds her athletic ability. It is what helped her blossom into one of the state’s most well-rounded basketball players and lead her young teammates to an undefeated 4A state title.

Throughout her career, Jensen’s skill, dedication and leadership have earned her the respect of her teammates and coaches, a lot of victories, and this year’s Deseret News Ms. Basketball Award.

“She’s just a team basketball player,” said Sky View head coach Kimber Hall. “She has developed from just a shooter to having a great all-around game.”

In the guard’s final prep season, the future Utah State Aggie led the team in scoring and rebounding — averaging 23.4 points and 5.8 rebounds. She also averaged 2 assists and 3.5 steals per game.

But it wasn’t just her statistical leadership that helped the Bobcats navigate a perfect season.

“She is a lead-by-example kid,” Hall said. “She doesn’t say much. She encourages the other girls in practices or games, and it’s always in a positive way. You don’t see her out there yelling or getting in someone’s face.”

Hall said her leadership also comes from her work ethic and coachable attitude she displays every day.

“I don’t know if she’s ever disagreed with me,” Hall said. “I’ll call her over and tell her something, and sometimes she’d give me a look like ‘Really?’ But she never argued. She always, always did what you asked her to do. Such a good leader, a good example she set by doing what the coach wanted her to do and playing a team game.”

Hall said Jensen understood that she had to find ways to inspire her young teammates this year after the program lost last year’s leadership to graduation.

“She knew we could win with these juniors and sophomores,” he said. “She knew she had to lead, and she did a great job.”

Hall said he knew Jensen would have an impact from the moment he first saw her shooting baskets with her dad. Jensen was in eighth grade, but had the presence of a much older player.

“We just had open gym for the summer,” he said. “She shot the ball very well, was very mature. I thought, ‘Wow.’ … You just watched her and thought, ‘This little girl is going to be a good basketball player.’ ”

Jensen’s junior high coach persuaded Hall to share her in her freshman season, something the high school coach said he probably shouldn’t have done. But the summer after her freshman year, she never played in anything but a varsity game — and she started the remaining three years at Sky View.

“This year and last year, she really developed to where she could stop and shoot a floater, instead of always going to the rim,” Hall said. “She worked really hard on that. She just worked so hard developing an all-around game, from every aspect.” Liz Jensen said her daughter played just about every sport imaginable as a youngster.

“She loved them all,” her mom said. “Then all of a sudden, she just honed in on basketball, and something took over.”

Jensen continued playing softball until high school, but when she had to choose between softball and AAU basketball, she chose hoops.

“She is always practicing,” Liz said. “She is consistently working on her game. Her favorite thing is going to Metro (her summer league team) because they always had something new for her to learn. If she’s not playing, she’s watching.”

Even her hobbies revolve around basketball. An avid fan of LeBron James, she collects his shoes and jerseys.

“She is super driven to be the best player, and she tries to always win every game she plays in, even if it’s just a scrimmage or just messing around with friends,” Liz Jensen said. “She is self-motivated to practice on her own. She also loved to practice with the high school boys whenever she could. We tease her that it doesn’t count as working on her game when she loves it so much.”

Not only does Lindsey Jensen thrive on competition, she isn’t bothered at all by pressure. As the Bobcats continued winning, they took over the top of the rankings. For some players, the pressure of leading a young team into a state tournament without a loss would cause them to struggle, even if it was just for part of a game or two.

“She’s cool under pressure,” Hall said. “She’s the only one who had any experience. We didn’t talk about it a lot. We talked about how each win got us one step closer to our goal, but I’m not sure it ever bothered her. I never noticed it.”

Jensen, the second oldest of Liz and Brian’s four children, will play basketball for Utah State next season. Her mom isn’t sure what degree she might seek, but is fairly certain it will “be something active, something involving sports.”

“She is a true athlete,” Liz Jensen said. “Her happiest moments are when she is playing.”

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