Destinee Jones is headed to Southern Oregon University in Ashland after a career in Weed that saw her play on five league championship teams the past five years and earn all-league honors the past six years in a row, along with a league MVP award her senior year in high school.
College of the Siskiyous sophomore and Weed High School graduate Destinee Jones is one of four members of the Eagles’ women’s basketball team who signed with four-year schools last Wednesday at the COS campus.
Jones, who has played on five league championship teams the past five years and has earned all-league honors the past six years in a row, signed with NAIA power Southern Oregon University.
COS twin sisters Megan and Melissa Dailey are staying together after they both signed with the University of North Dakota, a Division I program that went 20-11 last season.
Gabbi Schmitt signed with Multnomah University in Portland, Ore., an NAIA school. Schmitt and the Dailey sisters played their high school basketball in the Portland area.
Coach Tom Powers said he expects sophomore Hannah Thompson to make her decision soon about the four-year school she will sign with.
COS went undefeated in the Golden Valley Conference and 31-2 overall this past season. One of those losses was in the state championship game.
In their two seasons at COS, this year’s five sophomores played on teams that never lost a conference game and went 57-4 overall. All five made the 2016-17 All-Golden Valley Conference team.
Melissa Dailey, a two-time GVC MVP, was this year’s Northern California MVP and made first team All-State for the second year in a row.
Destinee Jones is moving on after earning all-league four years in a row for the Weed Cougars – including the league MVP award her senior season – and then earning all-conference the past two years for COS.
The teams she played on the past five years all won league championships and had a combined league record of 53-3.
She played on Weed teams that went all the way to the Northern Section championship game her last three years in high school, then played on the COS team that went to this year’s state championship game.
Jones attributed her success to the “good coaching” she has had from Bob West at WHS and Tom Powers at COS.
Now she’s moving on to a Southern Oregon program that has won back-to-back conference championships for the first time in its history and won four games in the NAIA Division II national championship tournament in 2016.
SOU was 33-2 overall and 19-1 in conference in 2015-16 and 27-5 overall and 18-2 in conference this season.
Jones said she chose SOU because she will be able to attend tuition-free, thanks to the transfer agreement it has with COS, an academic scholarship they offered, and another academic scholarship she received.
Plus, “it’s only an hour away,” she said, which will make it convenient for “all the people who have watched me from middle school on.”
She said this year was “by far the best year” of her career. “It was a great experience, especially going to the state tournament and playing one of best teams in the state.”
The Eagles rose up from the No. 4 seed in the North to reach the state championship game, which they lost to perennial state power Mt. San Antonio.
Jones said she and her teammates thought they should have been ranked higher both of the last two years and “wanted to prove it.”
Powers said the difference between Jones and everyone else “is the amount of effort she puts out. It’s clear to everybody that plays against her. She’s been the key to our team because she does all the work nobody else wants to do: taking charges, going after loose balls, running the floor. Players like that are hard to find. That’s what the Southern Oregon coach liked about her. She makes everybody else better. We haven’t had anything like that for years. We’re always looking for players like that, but they only come around once in a while.”