To be inducted in 2020
A first-team all-state standout, she averaged 28 points per game as a senior. She led the girls’ Varsity basketball team through one of its most successful eras, including the Lady Beavers’ first and only trip to the state quarterfinals as a sophomore. Exceptional in the game’s fundamentals and excellent with the ball, she carried her winning ways on to Northern Michigan University, where she enjoyed a successful four-year career as a guard for one of NMU’s best women’s teams ever.
- Key contributor to girls quarterfinal team in sophomore year (first and only time in school history girls basketball team has made it that far)
- 19.5 points per game in junior year
- First Team All Conference in junior and senior year
- Midland Daily News Dream Team Co-Player of the Year as a senior
- Saginaw News Dream Team
- Associated Press Class C First Team All State
- Averaged 28 points per game, 8 rebounds per game, and 4 assists per game as a senior
- District champs, and regional finalists senior year
You enjoyed quite a bit of success during your playing days at BHS. What are some things that you can attribute to your success?
My family is my biggest reason for the success I’ve experienced. They always had my back. Also, the community support. Having people cheering you on and supporting you makes an incredible difference. It was a big motivator for me to work hard. I took a lot of pride in wanting to be a part of a good team and win, especially because I knew there would be people in the stands cheering us on.
I had a lot of great coaches. Mr. Parker ran a Saturday clinic for us when we were in 6th grade, Pat Dillon in 7th, Ronda Frasier in 8th, Mr. Merkle in 9th, Doyle Durkee and Roy.
Lastly, I must attribute my success to my teammates. My sophomore year we made it to the Quarterfinals and we were a group of girls that loved to play the game of basketball. We played open gyms all summer long, went to team camp and put a lot of time into the game.
My junior and senior year, our teams struggled to score. I credit my teammates for being so unselfish by running the offense to get me the ball. They were also open minded when Roy stepped in to coach my junior year. Nobody knew how that was going to go 🙂
However, we had a lot of fun. The girls accepted his coaching style, philosophy and played really hard for him. We won a lot of games on tough defense, grit and being more fundamentally sound than our opponents.
My junior year we lost to Alma by 1 in the District Final on a controversial call at the end of the game. I was fouled in the act of shooting, behind one point with just a couple seconds left in the game. Unfortunately, the official called the foul on the ground. We weren't in the bonus and had to try to get a desperation shot off. My senior year, we made an exciting tournament run by advancing to the Regional Finals, losing a close game to Elk Rapids. Our team definitely over achieved because of everyone's buy in!
You come from a long line of basketball tradition in your family. What did that mean to your development as a player?
I feel very blessed to have been born into a basketball family. Basketball has been a big part of our families’ life, and the game has been good to us. I credit my Mom for making it a family experience. She would teach second grade all day, come home and get all five of us kids ready for the game. The first Beaverton Boys Basketball Game I missed was a tournament game my junior year!
I learned so much growing up at the games and listening to my dad afterwards. We also watched a lot of college basketball, in person and on TV. I was a sponge growing up, always listening when basketball was being discussed.
Recently, I found a note that my college coach wrote to my Dad during my senior year of college. My coach applauded and thanked Roy telling him that I was the most prepared athlete he ever had for the collegiate level. I think that sums it up best!
You had the opportunity to play basketball for your dad. What was that experience like?
A few days before practice was supposed to start my junior year, we didn’t have a coach after Doyle Durkee stepped down. I’m so thankful Roy was willing to give coaching girls a chance and decided to be the coach. I truly enjoyed playing for my Dad, especially because I looked up to him so much and stayed close with him during my teenage years.
Again, I credit my teammates for making it a great experience for me. There were no complaints that I got to shoot the ball a lot. My teammates played hard for Roy and respected how hard I worked at the game. They were willing to do what it took to win games.
Your career was extended to playing for Northern Michigan University. What can you tell us about that experience?
My experience on the NMU Women’s Basketball Team was fantastic and I feel very fortunate. Being a collegiate student-athlete is extremely demanding and challenging. Our coach trained us very hard all year long. There we no days off. It takes so much dedication and discipline. I’m thankful to have been surrounded by others that were willing to put the work in that it takes to win. Two of my teammates were named All-Americans.
I played shooting guard my first two years and point guard my junior and senior year. During my four years, our team accomplished:
- An overall record of: 103-11
- Won 4 GLIAC Conference Tournament Championships
- Won 2 Regular Season GLIAC Conference Championships.
- Two NCAA Elite 8 Appearances
- One NCAA Final Four Appearance
We had incredibly loyal fans that often packed our gym. We were a fun team to watch, playing unselfish team basketball. Our Final Four team was recently inducted into the NMU Hall of Fame, along with the likes of Tom Izzo and Steve Mariucci!
I would like to thank all of the Beaverton people that attended my college games. It really meant the world to me. People would travel to Northwood, Saginaw and Ferris. Actually, several people (especially my family) often made the 5-hour trip up to Marquette to watch games.
Were there any players from other schools that seemed to give you more headaches than others?
During my high school career, there were a lot of tough teams and players in the Jack Pine Conference. Cheri Euler from Houghton Lake played at Michigan State and we had some great battles. There were certain teams that gave me headaches, more than individual players.
I encountered a lot of gimmick defenses, double and triple teams. Coleman was super physical, Roscommon and Houghton Lake had really tall players and Farwell was athletic. I was thankful my teammates were good at setting screens for me and getting me in scoring position against all different types of defenses. Of course, the Gladwin games were always intense.
What are your proudest moments as a BHS player, coach or fan?
- Roy becoming the winningest coach in the state of Michigan and the crowd that was in attendance. Seeing all the players on the court with him after the game was so touching!
- Experiencing the tournament run by the 1983 Boys Basketball Team as a second grader. It was so much fun and that is when I developed my dream to become a good player because of how the community rallied around the team.
- Having the honor of being the athletic director and a part of the first girls team to advance in Beaverton History to a state tournament with the: 2019 Volleyball Semi-Final Team
- Having the honor of being the athletic director during the 2018 and 2019 Football Seasons. What a special history to be a part of!
- Bleacher Creatures winning The Battle of the Fans
- The tradition of the Beaver Shuffle and Slide
Beaverton has always been such a close knit community that rallies behind its athletic programs. Why do you think that is?
I believe Beaverton community members rally behind its athletic programs because we are loyal supporters that truly care about one another. We take a lot of pride in having each other’s back and enjoy coming together as a community at sporting events. Games are a big part of our social lives. There is just something unique about our community that you can’t explain to someone in words: one has to experience it for themselves at a game!
What does it mean personally to be enshrined in the Beaverton Hall of Fame?
It is an honor to join such an incredible group of people and means so much to me, personally. For a small town, Beaverton has produced a lot of great athletes and teams that have achieved tremendous accomplishments. It’s even more special to join my father and brother as members of the Hall of Fame. I would like to thank the Hall of Fame Committee Members for the induction and for all their hard work and time.
Jennifer Johnston Brag Board
“Jen Johnston was one of the most fearless, fiery competitors to ever suit up…and she had the drive and talent to go along with it. Like her Beaverton hall of fame older brother, Jeff. Jen was a natural floor general and ran the floor with authority and precision. She just absolutely loved to compete. I can remember many times in high school Jen would challenge me to shooting competitions at lunch or even a game of one on one. Now keep in mind, I’m a 6’ 3” senior, Jen is a 5’ 7” sophomore. It didn’t matter to Jen…she was aways in full game time competition mode.
Jen Johnston performing on the basketball court was so much fun to watch. She was always absolutely locked in. She knew defenses, offenses, what plays to call, who should guard who, other teams weaknesses, time on the clock, time of possession, who needed the ball and when, everything. But that wasn’t even her true gift. Where Jen really shined was scoring the basketball. Beautiful outside shot or take you to the rack and scoring…and especially at crunch time when the team really needed a bucket. Thats where the greats become greats…when the heat is on. Thats Jen Johnston”
– Brandon Calhoon
“From watching Jen as the youngest child in her mom’s arms to setting records on the court and growing into a professional and great mom, has been a true pleasure. Such a hardworking, dedicated athlete and now giving back to our young people by using that same work ethic and determination as the athletic director and administrator. Jen is a quality person, deserving of the accolades of the HOF. What a great career! What a great lady! Very proud of you Jen and glad you’re where you belong after a great basketball career.”
– Scott Govitz
“First of all congratulations to Jennifer Johnston in being inducted AGAIN to the HOF. It is a much deserved honor. She grew up a gym rat and followed in some pretty big footprints of her siblings. She soon learned to pave her own way and shine! Stellar shooter, ball handler, and ambassador of the game. I’m honored to have been a teammate.“
– Tina Schelich
“I had the privilege of playing basketball with Jenn Johnston through junior high, high school, and also two years of AAU basketball. Jenn, was by far, the most dedicated teammate and athlete I’ve ever played with. She showed up to practice early, stayed late, and dedicated her heart and soul to the game. She knew the game inside and out. She could shoot the lights out of the ball, and it was all due to her incessant dedication. Jenn’s relentless drive, determination, and dedication made me a better ball player. I am proud to have called her my teammate!
Congratulations on a much deserved induction to the Hall of Fame, Jenn!”
– Andrea (Ashcroft) Adams, Beaverton Class of 1994
“It has been my privilege to grow up around the Beaverton Basketball program and the Johnston family. Jen and I are the same age so I had a front row seat to watch her become the most decorated girls basketball player in our school’s history.
I have never seen anyone work harder at making themselves a great player. She would religously be in the gym at least an hour before school started working on her game. She studied the game, she made herself stronger and often practiced with our boys team in order to push herself as far as she could. This work ethic helped her accomplish great personal statistics but typical of her Johnston name, the only statistic she was concerned with was winning. She led our team to pioneering championships in our schools history and continued that winning into her collegiate career at Northern Michigan University.
Now, over 20 years later, our school is so lucky to have Jen back and leading our student/athletes in her role as high school assistant principal/ athletic director.
On a personal level, I am just happy to have one of my best friends back home where she belongs. Jen and I go back nearly 40 years and I am so proud of all she has accomplished. Congratulations Jen, and welcome to the Hall of Fame!”
– Shad Woodruff
“Being a shift worker while Jennifer played ball, made it hard to go to many games. But when we got the chance, she made it hard to stay seated when she performed with so much grace and precision. At a young age, Shad kept telling us that there was a girl that could really play basketball. Jen is a true example that hard work and dedication to something you love will pay off. I am very proud and appreciate all the hard work since graduation that has brought her home. Jen was a shining star on the court and will be a big addition on the hall of fame. Welcome aboard.”
– Bob Woodruff
“I was lucky enough to be on the coaching staff at NMU during Jenn’s freshman and sophomore years. My first impression of Jenn was how competitive she was and how hard she worked at everything we did. I don’t think it was a coincidence that her four years at NMU were one of the best four year stretches in school history. Now, it’s great to see her giving back to the community she grew up in and helping mold the future student-athletes that she works with every day!
Congrats Jenn on this well deserved induction to the Beaverton Hall of Fame!”
– Jason Keefer