Cabrillo High’s latest girls basketball star hails from the “Birthplace of Television.”
Erin Jenkins first got her first hands on the basketball while living in Rigby, Idaho, a small city north of Idaho Falls known nationwide as the boyhood home of the inventor of television Philo T. Farnsworth.
The junior Jenkins has provided plenty of highlight moments on the basketball court for the black and gold – the kind of highlights that would’ve made sports TV highlight shows from knocking down a 3-pointer to making a key defensive stop in the waning moments of a key league contest.
And that kind of flair and energy on the basketball floor from Jenkins has turned the former Rigby resident into the girls basketball All-Area Most Valuable Player from Lee Central Coast News.
“I feel really honored about that,” Jenkins said when asked about her All-Area nod. “With my role on this team, I really feel like I just try to motivate everyone to the best of their abilities. My role on the court is I run the ball.”
Once Jenkins takes control of the orange spherical ball, opponents have to brace themselves for a player who does it all – score in the key, hit the long range shot, dish the ball down low in the post, then use her long arms to steal or swat.
But the one trait she loves exhibiting on the floor? Getting her teammate, cousin and fellow LCCN All-Area selection Brittney McCune involved.
“When I’m on the wing or the point, I love feeding Brittney in the post because she’s really good at posting up, getting the ball and getting it through the hoop,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins’ big plays have helped elevate a once struggling girls basketball program at Cabrillo to Los Padres League supremacy, as the Conquistadores have either shared or won the outright LPL title in the three seasons Jenkins has played on varsity.
This year’s Conqs not only won 24 of 26 regular season games, but clinched the outright league crown with a 14-0 record, which was solidified in what Jenkins called the highlight game of the regular season on Feb. 3: The 43-31 victory over city rival Lompoc that swept the regular season series against the two-time co-league champs.
“That was the most exciting game we played so far,” Jenkins said, who had to counter the Braves’ top lockdown defender Cheyenne Marmolejo on that night, the same Marmolejo who held her to a season-low five points in the 36-33 road win at Bryan Ayer Court on Jan. 10.
“Cheyenne was a really good defender. I’ll admit she did stop me in the first game. But I came back in the second game with trying to attack her and get past her,” Jenkins said, who improved to 14 points that night in her second go-round versus Marmolejo. “The only way she could stop me was by fouling me and getting me to the free throw line. That’s where I got most of my points that game.”
With her versatility and winning resume, Jenkins has emerged as a rising women’s college basketball prospect on Constellation Rd.
“I’ve had three colleges notice me so far: Cal Poly, Fresno State and Long Beach State,” Jenkins said. “I haven’t had much contact talking wise with Long Beach State and Fresno State. But they’ve been really busy. Cal Poly, though, always checks up on me and asks how I’m doing. We have those nice talks with each other and I go to their home games sometimes.”
Jenkins has played on Conquistador teams that have gone an astonishing 40-2 in LPL games. Yet, she admits she had some humble court beginnings in Rigby.
“I never got to play high school ball there and I’ve played on some youth teams. We weren’t really that great and we were young. I was one of the older, experienced players while everyone else was new. It was fun though,” Jenkins said.
Now, she plays on basketball teams that have raised the bar high on the CHS campus.
“No one is really surprised with how well we did in league, but the atmosphere (on campus) is really exciting,” Jenkins said. “We’re really excited to play and see if we can go farther than last year.”
Now that she’s received her All-Area nod, there are two things remaining on Jenkins’ mind along with the rest of her teammates: A section title and state playoff appearance.
“We want it so bad,” Jenkins said. “I think we have a really good chance. We’ve worked our tails off this season and I feel like we have a better chance of going on to CIF and the state finals because we want it bad this year.”