Your Prep Sports
Courtney Joens always has shared her love for basketball with her younger sisters.
That included showing them drills when she came home from the University of Illinois, where she played in college from 2016-20.
She found out on Tuesday night that she’ll be working a little closer with one of her siblings.
Kelsey Joens was granted a waiver by the Iowa City Community School District Board, allowing her to transfer from City High to West Liberty for her senior year.
State rules would have required her to sit out 90 days at her new school without the judgement. The news meant she would be playing for Courtney, who was named the Comets head coach this summer.
“This is an incredible opportunity to get to coach Kelsey in her senior season and my first year as a head coach,” Courtney said. “We both love the game and being able to coach her will create a lot of special moments for us that we will remember forever.”
The Iowa Print Sports Writers Association (IPSWA) named Kelsey to its Class 5A all-state first team last winter, when she averaged a team-high 21.3 points for the Little Hawks.
The Iowa State commitment added 6.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.4 in helping them make the state tournament.
“It’s a very unique situation,” Kelsey said. “Not many people can say they got the opportunity to play for their sister. Growing up, Courtney and I would work out together when she was still playing. We both love the game. It will grow our relationship as sisters and bond us with great memories down the road.”
West Liberty reached the Class 3A regional semifinal last season. The Comets posted a 19-5 record.
They graduated two of their top three scorers, including first-team all-stater Macy Daufeldt, a freshman on Drake’s volleyball team.
Courtney has been running a successful youth program in Iowa City and volunteered on the Little Hawks varsity staff last season.
She shared knowledge with Kelsey during the campaign, but being her head coach will be a new experience.
“I’m going to approach this just like coaching any other player on the team. Obviously, it’s a little different with her being my sister, but at the end of the day she will be treated and held to the same standard of respect and disciplines as anyone else,” Courtney said.
“When we step off the court and I see her at home, we are sisters and we can be our normal selves with each other, but at basketball she’s treated like any other player on the team.”
Kelsey arrives at her new school seeking to create good chemistry. She believes that can make the year with her sister special.
“I want to start off really well, get to know each other and how we fit together as a team. As the season continues, I want to make a state tournament run with the end goal of a state championship. Personally, I want to be a really good teammate, learn from my teammates, and grow on and off the court,” she said.
Two other Joens sisters, who like Courtney graduated from City High, will be playing college basketball this coming season.
Ashley is an All-American at Iowa State, and Aubrey will be a junior at Oklahoma after transferring from the Cyclones during the offseason.