SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Columbia High School sophomore Jordan Fields is the leading scorer for the girls' basketball team, but she also contributes to her school on the track and in the classroom.
"Jordan is what I would define as a student-athlete," girls' basketball coach Jazmine Wright said. "She's in all honors classes and does extremely well in them. Everything she works at, she works hard at it, and whatever she sets out to do, she does her best."
Although she says that basketball is still her main sport, Fields accompanied the track team to nationals for the long jump in her freshman year, while managing to balance her work load and social life.
"She stays studying and keeps her eye on the prize, and the sky is the limit for her," Wright said. "I'm excited to see what she does in the next few years and see where she ends up going."
Fields is currently leading the Cougars to an 11-9 season with a team-high 257 total points. She also leads the team in assists (18) and 3-pointers (32), while adding 24 steals to her resume this season.
"My goal was to have a better season than I did last year, and try to reach 300 points for my career so that next year I can try to achieve my goal of 1,000 for my entire career," Fields said.
Fields' best performance this season came at the end of December against Chatham when she scored 27 points, grabbed six rebounds and hit five 3-pointers (all personal bests for the season) to lead Columbia to a 59-48 victory
Although the Cougars were eliminated from the Essex County Tournament by West Essex this year, Fields is optimistic about the team's ability to succeed in the future.
"I think we're definitely capable of winning a county championship," Fields said. "It's definitely one of our goals and it's been on my mind for the past couple weeks. We're out of the tournament this year, but next year we can definitely make a run for it, and possibly a state championship."
Fields began her basketball career in sixth grade but didn't play competitively until she got to seventh grade. Now she is looking ahead and hopes to play ball in college, ideally on a scholarship.
Jordan said she feels as if she has emerged as a leader on her team, both on and off the court.
"She's very supportive of her teammates and a good leader on the floor," Wright said. "She loves the game, and she works hard at it. She's the first one to come to practice, and the last one to leave. She's completely dedicated to the sport and on top of that she's an excellent student."
When she's not on the court or the track, Fields spends most of her time focusing on her work and trying to find time to relax with her teammates.
"These girls are my best friends," Fields said. "They're my sisters. We're definitely a closer team than most."
Jordan will be in action again on Tuesday, Feb. 18 when the Cougars will host West Orange at 7 p.m. at South Orange Middle School.
The reporter is a student participating in hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.