A Wood Family Tradition

When the clock struck 'zero' at the Pulaski County High School gymnasium, on Monday, March, 4, the massive celebration began for the Southwestern High School girls basketball team's first-ever 12 Region Tournament championship title.

After Lady Warrior junior Jenna Wood hugged each teammate and her coaches, she quickly started to search out her family members to share this special moment.

Winning a basketball region title was not only 'A Dream Come True' for Jenna Wood, but it completed the Wood Family Basketball Triad.

Almost 35 years earlier, a 17-year Todd Wood celebrated with his Pulaski County High School boys basketball teammates after the Maroons won the 12th Region Tournament crown over Laurel County at Wayne County High School.

At the time, a young Todd Wood probably felt like this would be the greatest athletic highlight of his lifetime. Little did he know, that regional title in 1984 was just the beginning of a his family's quest of regional basketball crowns.

Almost 17 years after Todd Wood's celebration on the hardwood, him and his wife Jeannie celebrated the birth of their twins - Jon and Jenna. And while the 1984 Pulaski County basketball regional title might have been a faded memory for many, that moment in Todd Wood's athletic history was alive and well in the Wood family household, as his twin children grew up.

"Growing up seeing all the basketballs around the house and looking through all the books of what my dad had accomplished as a basketball player, just made me want to be a basketball player too and be exactly like him," Jenna Wood stated. "I wanted to be a basketball player."

From day one, Jenna's mom just knew that basketball was going to be a big part of her twin's lives.

"Jon and Jenna have been exposed to sports since they were babies, whether that be UK basketball or football while they were still tiny or watching Todd play in a 3-on-3 league while they were still in infant seats," Jeannie Wood laughed. "They have always been surrounded by sports."

Jenna Wood began playing basketball in the second grade in the elementary school league and on a Lady Warrior AAU team in the third grade. Likewise, her brother Jon was busy on the hardwood at an early age as well.

"Basketball has always been an integral part of our family," stated Todd Wood. "As far as we are concerned, basketball is our life! As far back as we can remember, our twins have had a basketball in their hands."

The two Wood twins not only competed against everyone in the state of Kentucky and the southeastern part of the United States, while growing up, they also competed just as hard against each other.

"Jenna has always been competitive with her brother, Jon, and she has even helped his teams out a couple of times by filling in on his teams during summer travel games when they needed another player," her mom stated. "They have played against each other in our back yard, in the gym during practices and workouts for many years. But when it is all said and done, they remain each other's biggest fan."

Throughout Jenna's, and Jon's, basketball journey, Todd and Jeannie have been there every step of the way. Todd has coached many of the twin's ball teams as they grew up, and has always given the twin's basketball teams moral support through his words of basketball wisdom.

"I have always told Jenna and Jon that in order for teams to be special on the floor, they must develop special relationships off the floor," stated Todd Wood. "We are so blessed that both Jenna and Jon have developed wonderful friendships with their teammates. The most important thing for us is that these friendships will last a lifetime."

As the twins got older, and started playing on their respective varsity basketball squads, Todd Wood started to talk about regional championships and playing at the state level in Rupp Arena.

"Todd has always told both Jon and Jenna, as well as their teams, that 'the reason we play the game is to win Region Championships and to get the opportunity to play at the highest level, the Kentucky State Tournament'," Jeannie Wood stated. "We have heard that saying so many times throughout their time playing the sport."

Granted it was a great speech for motivation, but the odds of having both his children reach the same plateau as he did in 1984 was probably astronomical. However, last year Jon Wood's Southwestern boys basketball team miraculously won the 12th Region Tournament and played at Rupp Arena. Then last week, Jenna Wood's Lady Warriors basketball team won the program's first-ever regional title and the girls state tournament will be played at Rupp Arena for the first time in the girls' tourney history.

"It is an honor to say that my team won a regional title, and my dad won one in 1984 and Jon - and his team - won one last year," Jenna said. "It is just unbelievable."

And while basketball has been a huge part of the Wood family's life, Jenna Wood is most thankful for her family's support of her throughout her athletic journey.

"My dad has always coached me in some way and I always knew that basketball was going to be a part of my life," Jenna said. "I am so blessed to have them as my parents. They have always been there, they are always supporting me and encouraging me. I can't thank them enough for all they have done for me and my brother."

As Jenna Wood and her mother hugged and celebrated in the middle of the massive crowd that engulfed the playing floor after the regional championship, Todd Wood made his way down the bleachers to join in on the family fun.

"Celebrating with my parents after the game was a blast," Jenna exclaimed. "Being able to experience that with my mom, dad, my brother and my team was something that I will never forget."

It was a moment, that none of the Wood family members will ever forget.

"To say that we are excited for the accomplishments of this team is an understatement," her mom Jeannie Wood stated. "For years, the twins have always heard their father talk about winning region, and playing in Rupp Arena. Both, Jon and Jenna will have had the privilege of playing in Rupp Arena just like Dad did in 1984. We have come full circle."

As Todd Wood lifted up his daughter in celebration, he exclaimed, 'We're going to Rupp, baby!'

After all, it is a Wood Family Tradition.

STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at sports@somerset-kentucky.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CJSportseditor.

Steve Cornelius has worked as a journalist at the Commonwealth Journal since 2001, and has been the CJ Sports Editor since 2005.