Center Line High girls basketball standout signs to play at next level

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Warren Weekly | Published June 3, 2019

 Center Line High senior Janae Smith, left, drives toward the basket in a March 13 Division 2 regional final. Smith signed May 21 to play at Division 2 St. Clair Community College. Smith will be a teammate of her sister, Jewel, who will be a sophomore next season.

Center Line High senior Janae Smith, left, drives toward the basket in a March 13 Division 2 regional final. Smith signed May 21 to play at Division 2 St. Clair Community College. Smith will be a teammate of her sister, Jewel, who will be a sophomore next season.

Photo by Sean Work

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CENTER LINE — Center Line High’s Janae Smith will continue a family tradition this fall when she suits up as a member of the St. Clair Community College women’s basketball team.

Smith will be the third member of her household to play women’s college basketball. Janae’s oldest sister, Jade, played at Schoolcraft College and Rochester College. Her other sister, Jewel, will be a sophomore at St. Clair CC — where she and Janae will be teammates.

All three are Center Line graduates.

“To continue the family tradition is awesome,” said Smith, an All-Macomb Area Conference selection in 2019. “I’m the only point guard, though. I’m the smallest. I think I can be as aggressive on the court as my sisters, though.”

Smith this past season helped the Panthers win their second Division 2 district title in three years.

Center Line coach Rob Fulhenzi said Smith will be missed. She was part of a trio of seniors who carried the team for stretches of last season, Fulhenzi said.

Smith also looked at attending Adrian College, Central Michigan University, Oakland University, Schoolcraft College, Michigan State University and Eastern Michigan University. She called settling on St. Clair CC a great choice.

“It offers me and my family some financial stability, and the basketball program is amazing. It has that family vibe,” said Smith, who plans to major in computer science or an athletics-related field. “I know starting off where I’ll be will pay off and really help me in the future.”

Smith called the recruiting process great. She said getting the offer from St. Clair CC boosted her confidence and let her know her work ethic must continue to be strong.

Smith called her family instrumental in her decision. She said her parents and sisters pushed her to pursue her passion.

“My sisters would have supported me no matter what college I would have chosen, but they also made sure I had a plan and stuck to it,” Smith said. “I’m looking forward to playing with (Jewel) and learning the ropes as far as being an adult. That’s crazy to me, but I got to do it.”

Before she starts her next chapter, Smith reflected on her fond memories of being a Panther.

Teachers, friends and teammates have pushed Smith to work hard for everything, she said. She’ll miss Center Line a lot.

“The adventures my friends and I take, the locker room talks,” Smith said, “and the one thing I’ll miss most is the feeling of playing on the Center Line court. I’ll miss it all, but all good things must come to an end.”

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