Plange’s path leads to success at Jenkintown

Jason Plange is able to look back at it all now and see how valuable the experience was for him.

But when he was cut from Jenkintown’s boys’ basketball team as a freshman, Plange was very upset. He ended up transferring out of the district as a sophomore, then didn’t even play basketball that year before returning to the Drakes for his junior year.

He made the team, but didn’t a ton of time coming off the bench for last year’s senior-heavy squad. But it was all incentive for Plange, now a senior and now a starting guard for Jenkintown.

“It humbled me a lot,” Plange said. “I had to work to get where I’m at now. I had to build up confidence and I’m still working on it. I took it as motivation.”

Plange isn’t his team’s top scorer, with that role usually falling to fellow senior Jameson Kolb most nights. The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Plange may be his team’s best athlete however, a guy who loves to be aggressive on defense and did a good job of attacking the hoop in the Robert Hopf Holiday Tournament last week, scoring 10 and 11 points in the two games.

Drakes coach Wes Emme is happy to see Plange having success, especially with his winding path to a key role at Jenkintown.

“Jason Plange is the best story I’ve ever had here,” Emme said after the team’s win over Calvary Christian. “He came back with a rejuvenated and motivated mindset and he really made strides last year as a junior. He didn’t see a whole lot minutes but before this year, I had predicted he was going to be one of our leading scorers.”

Emme said Plange’s scoring hasn’t come as quickly as he thought it was going to for the guard, but still views the senior as an X-factor. Whether its Plange’s ability to get to the rim or his ball-handling that allows Jenkintown to play fast and handle pressure, the guard gives the Drakes a different look from what some of the other guys provide.

His athletic ability is apparent when watching Plange play. Also a member of the Jenkintown football team, the senior had seven boards against Calvary and is lightning-quick to recover on defense.

Plange is still working through how best to use his skills on the court. Emme will tell the senior to stop running plays and be a playmaker if he sees Plange thinking too much or passing up chances to do what he does best.

“He says that if we run a set, don’t try to pull it back out and run another set,” Plange said. “If I get a chance and an opportunity shows itself, he wants me to go for it.”

Jenkintown has been quite successful in both the BAL and District I Class A playoff scene in recent years because of guys like Plange who work hard for their chance then make the most of it.

“It’s like a family,” Plange said. “It’s easy to play with these guys.”

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