Mater Dei basketball senior leads team as captain

By Jenelyn Russo     2/20/2017

Jayda Adams was always eager to follow in her big sister Jordan’s footsteps, so that meant shooting a basketball beginning in first grade.

“It was because I liked to copy everything my older sister did,” says Adams. “I saw how much fun she was having (playing basketball), and I wanted to do the same thing.”



Even with her early start, the Mater Dei High School senior has developed her own passion for the sport, which brings out the competitor in Adams.

“I love how competitive it is, and I have so much love for the game, just how much you can learn every single day,” says the 17-year-old. “And it helps you become such a better person too.”

As a captain for the Monarchs, Adams uses her role to help instill confidence in her teammates, knowing they often need that extra “spark” to push through challenging times. Mater Dei’s varsity girls basketball head coach, Kevin Kiernan, says that as Adams goes, so goes the team.

“Jayda is a great perimeter shooter and ball handler and is our leading scorer and our best offensive weapon,” says Kiernan. “There’s been a lot of pressure on her this year, and she has come through. Jayda’s enthusiasm and passion for the game has been great for us this season.”

The four-year varsity player acknowledges her enthusiasm has challenged her to stay patient and let the game come to her, all while keeping in mind that, “it’s not the end of the world if we lose a game.” The life lessons learned have been multifold.

“[Basketball] has taught me to be a better person and that you don’t always get to choose who you work with,” says Adams. “So to really be flexible and [learn] how to deal with people with different personalities.”

Away from the court, Adams has a heart for serving people in need and spends time alongside her family feeding the homeless. Her “pay it forward” approach stems from her faith and her gratitude for being able to play the game that she loves.

“It plays a very big role for me, just because I know I’m not only playing for myself and my teammates, but I’m playing for God,” says Adams. “He’s allowing me to play such a wonderful sport with great people around me, keeping me healthy and safe.”

The Irvine resident is set to take her game to the next level as she heads to North Carolina in the fall to play basketball for Duke University. She plans to pursue a career in broadcasting and law, and will never lose sight of her original inspiration, her big sister.

“She just works so hard,” says Adams of Jordan. “I look up to her and see all the amazing things that she’s done, and I want to do the same things, be a great person like her.”