Truman High School girls basketball coach Steve Cassity calls Becca Jonas “the toughest matchup in the city.”
That’s because the 6-foot-1 senior center, who averaged 17.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game, could drive the ball baseline to baseline, hit a 3-pointer, dominate the paint or throw a precision pass to an open teammate that would leave a defender shaking her head in disgust.
“She’s the best player in the city,” Cassity said after Jonas led the Patriots to a 50-3 record the past two seasons, including a 25-2 mark this season. “She was our catalyst, the glue of the team. With her size and the way she could score down low, you’d think other coaches would talk to me about her scoring ability.
“But they all talk about her passing and how she got everyone involved in the game. That, to me, is the mark of a winner. And as good as she is as a player, she is even better as a person. We love her, and we’re going to miss her.”
Jonas became the first Truman High School basketball player, male or female, to ever win the James A. DiRenna Award, which is given to the top girls basketball player in the metro area, in a televised awards ceremony Thursday night at the College Basketball Experience in downtown Kansas City.
It should come as no surprise that she is also The Examiner’s 2013-14 Girls Player of the Year, which is quite an accomplishment when you consider that five players – Lee’s Summit North’s Imani Johnson, Blue Springs South’s Cloe Lane and Remy Davenport, Fort Osage’s Raven Bunn and Jonas’ Truman teammate Abby Hix – all surpassed 1,000 career points this season.
But then, so did Jonas.
“It’s been so much fun playing for great coaches and playing with teammates I love at Truman,” said Jonas, who will play basketball at NCAA Division I Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. “I’m looking forward to new challenges, but I am going to miss Truman.
“It all went by so quickly. You know how everyone says that when they are a senior, but it does go by way too fast. I’m going to miss all my senior teammates, and I’m going to follow all the underclassmen from this year’s team because they’re going to have a lot of success next season.”
When asked to look back over her remarkable career, a smile came to Jonas’ face.
“I was so terrible when I was a freshman,” she said, shaking her head. “Nothing in basketball came easy for me. I had to work hard to become a good player, and I can thank my coaches and my parents (former area coaches Bill and Maria Jonas) for taking me to practices and games and driving me everywhere and always being there for me.”
She said she realized her hard work paid off her junior year, because that’s when the recruiting letters, phone calls and emails became a part of her life.
“It’s nice to know that coaches think enough of you that they want you to become a part of their program,” Jonas said. “Basketball has been such an important part of my life, and I can’t wait for the next four years to see what happens.
“And to end my career at Truman as The Examiner Player of the Year and the DiRenna Award winners is humbling. But I would trade them both for a state championship. We never made it to the final four, and that’s disappointing, but I wouldn’t trade my time at Truman for anything.”