As Watson entered her freshman season at Camdenton, she originally believed her time on the court would consist of the next four years. Well, it seems her basketball days are not done quite yet after signing with Ozark Christian College on March 5.

Camdenton senior Jessica Watson originally thought the proverbial sand in the hourglass was starting to run out on her basketball career.

As she entered her freshman season at the school, she originally believed her time on the court would consist of the next four years. Well, it seems her basketball days are not done quite yet after signing with Ozark Christian College on March 5.

“I am so blessed to say that I was wrong,” Watson said after signing with the National Christian College Athletic Association Division II school in Joplin.

Well, the opportunity did not come along by accident. Like anything worth doing, it took some effort to find success and make the next chapter a possibility.

“What made this opportunity possible for me was putting in all my effort and drive to constantly work at what I loved. I learned to never settle and constantly work harder than the day before,” the senior said.

Fortunately for Watson, the program at Camdenton only kindled and fostered that kind of mentality.

“The past four years at Camdenton have been some of the best and also most challenging at times that I will forever be thankful for. Being a part of this program has pushed me way past what I thought I was capable of,” she noted. “I have loved this program and playing for this school. There is seriously nothing like being a part of the Lady Laker basketball team and I am truly going to miss everything about it.”

The feeling is mutual for Camdenton coach Staci Caffey who pointed out that Watson represented the program well whether it was the hustle and effort she played with on the court or the leadership she provided in consistently encouraging her teammates and pushing them to a higher standard.

“When you have an athlete like Jessica that comes in every day and works as hard as she does, it makes my heart happy to see it pay off,” Caffey stated. “She deserves this and Ozark Christian College is a lucky program to get such an outstanding young lady.”

Watson said that the campus in Joplin felt like the right place to be as soon as she stepped on campus. She plans to major in intercultural studies.

“I immediately knew that is where I was supposed to be. The community and family feeling at Ozark is unlike any other college campus I visited and I am stoked to be going there,” she said.

While her own journey continues in southwest Missouri, Watson said she hopes the returning Lakers and those to come represent their program well.

“My hope is that the younger girls keep the standard high at Camdenton,” the senior remarked. “That each time they walk onto the high school campus or are out in town, they remember they represent Camdenton High School and the Lady Laker basketball program.”

Caffey noted that Watson did a good job of doing just that during the past four years and there is plenty to learn from the example she set.

“Jessica is an athlete that was always willing to do the little things to bring success to the program. I loved how she would step in and take a charge or sometimes five in a game,” the coach said. “She is a hard-nosed athlete that always gives it everything she has. I will hate to see her go, but I know she will do amazing things at OCC.

“Looks like I will be taking a trip to Joplin sometime next season.”