AURORA | Another year, yet another Division I commitment for the powerhouse Regis Jesuit girls basketball team.
Raiders coach Carl Mattei said Monday that senior point guard Jess Lewis informed him over the weekend that she’d given her verbal commitment to West Point.
Lewis stands as the 30th Division I recruit in just over 10 years for Mattei’s productive program. She is the lone returning regular from a team with six Division I signees — Diani Akigbogun (Texas), Justine Hall (Purdue), Kelsi Lidge (Drexel), Neffie Lockley (Howard), Jordan Molyneaux (Seton Hall) and Anna Ptasinski (Lafayette) — that posted a 26-2 record, won a second consecutive Class 5A state championship and finished ranked higher nationally than any team in Colorado history.
Joining a veteran starting lineup as a sophomore, Lewis averaged 3.7 points and 3.2 assists per game, then took a big step forward as a junior. With an improved stroke from behind the 3-point line, Lewis knocked down 28 triples — third on the team behind Ptasinski’s 67 and Hall’s 34 — to nearly double her scoring average to 6.8, while upping her assists per game to 5.0.
Mattei said Lewis scored 34 on the ACT (out of 36 possible) and carries a 4.6 GPA going into her senior year at Regis Jesuit.
With strong academics and an improved game, Lewis had plenty of schools to choose from, despite a kneecap injury that kept her from playing over the summer. Mattei said Lewis chose the Army over Old Dominion, Davidson, Dartmouth and Harvard.
“She told me with what all is going on around the world, she wanted to put her country first and get a good degree and basketball takes care of itself,” he said. “She wants to battle and she’s a very competitive, smart, studious young lady.”
In the winter, Lewis will lead a team with only one other senior. Junior Tae’Kenya Cleveland could be the next D-I commitment for the program, as she is already generating interest from a number of programs according to Mattei. Cleveland’s older sister, Cheyenne, signed with D-II Bethany (Kan.) College last year despite very little varsity playing time because of the star-filled roster.
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasentinel.com. Facebook: Aurora Prep Sentinel