SPORTS EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first in a series of stories documenting the impact of the Goldman family on Lincoln High School basketball.
LINCOLN -- A tall shadow so high it was like a cloud loomed over Jessica Goldman's shoulder coming into her senior and final season of high school girls basketball at Lincoln.
Jessica, the baby of the Goldman family, affectionately known as "Bear" because as a young child she liked to listen to her mother read stories about a baby bear, isn't as tall as her older siblings. She stands 5-10 an inch taller than her mother, Alicia Goldman; yet a foot shorter than her brother.
The shadow stretched back a generation originating from her father, Greg Goldman, part of a 1985 Wolves' boys team whose only loss came in the first-round of the state tournament.
Older sister, RaShelle, cemented her place in the Goldman family legacy knocking down a 3-pointer at the buzzer as Lincoln knocked off previously unbeaten and No. 1 state-ranked Charleston 47-45 in overtime in the first-round of a 3A Regional to earn a berth in the 2012 State 3A girls basketball tournament.
RaShelle, now pursuing a doctorate at Drake University in Iowa, scored 1,169 points for the Lady Wolves as a 6-0 shooting forward, who could also handle the ball. RaShelle went on to play women's college basketball for the University of the Ozarks at Clarksville at the NCAA Division III level.
Brother, Shandon "Biggie" Goldman, surpassed all expectations with a growth spurt in high school going from a lanky 6-4 sophomore forward, whose main attribute was a penchant for shooting 3-pointers, into a 6-7 shot-blocking, rebounding force. Like his father, Shandon was surrounded by a strong supporting cast as a junior. The 2013-2014 Lincoln boys team started 15-0 and shared the 4A-1 Conference championship with Farmington, whom they beat twice in the regular season.
Shandon took the legacy a step beyond his father as Lincoln recorded its first-ever state tournament win over Bauxite in 2014.
As a senior Shandon grew to 6-9 and led the Wolves back into the 4A North Regional tournament before running into an Arkansas Baptist team with two players taller than him, junior Brandon Vanover (7-0) and his freshman brother Connor Vanover (7-2). In a 52-39 loss, Shandon scored a game high 25 points and showcased his personal highlight reel by catching a pass low on the block and slamming the basketball through the rim to score Lincoln's first points of the third quarter after an in-bounds play.
Beyond his 1,055 points in high school, Shandon grew to 6-10 and currently plays for Northern Iowa based in Cedar Falls, Iowa, at the NCAA men's Division I level.
At times, Jessica could almost hear a rewritten spoof of the Hank Williams Junior classic tune, "Family Tradition," as she felt pressure to live up to the Goldman legacy.
"Lincoln High School basketball players come from a real close family, but lately some questioned the kinfolk about the baby 'Bear' climbing the tree. Guess that's because they wanted to make sure she could carry on the Goldman family tradition."
"Opposing coaches all want to know, 'Bear,' why do you sink 3-pointers like smoke? Since you're right-handed, why do you go left like you're going for broke? Why must you live out the legend that your daddy wrote?"
"Hey sawbones, if she gets on and shoots all night long, guess it's because she's just carrying on a Goldman family tradition..."
Jessica didn't feel pressure as an underclassman, but as a senior knew she was under the spotlight.
"Sophomore year, personally, I didn't really feel pressure cause I just thought, 'Oh, we have two more years.' Junior year I felt a little bit more pressure cause only got one more year left," Jessica said. "Then senior year it was, 'yeah, we have to make it to state cause everyone else made it to state so I wanted to make it to state.'"
Would Jessica reach 1,000 career points?
Could she lead the Lady Wolves into the state tournament?
Would Jessica receive an opportunity to continue playing basketball at the next level?
These were all questions on Jessica's mind, and though largely unvoiced, stirring in the minds of Lincoln fans as the 2018-2019 season began.
Her father bluntly got to the point as the 2018-2019 season got underway, telling Jessica, "This is it for you. If you want to keep up with Biggie and RaShelle, you got to go to the state tournament and do some damage."
NEXT WEEK: JESSICA'S TEAMMATES AND COACHES RALLY AROUND A DREAM TO QUALIFY FOR STATE.
Sports on 03/13/2019
Print Headline: Carrying On A Family Tradition