Kamera Bozeman, Jasmine Bell and Chelsea Payne enjoyed plenty of success at Watson Chapel.
They won a state basketball championship as sophomores and helped lead the Lady Wildcats back to the semifinals as seniors. Now, all three will get to continue their careers on the junior college and Division II levels.
A signing ceremony was held for all three Wednesday at Watson Chapel’s library. Bozeman has committed to Northwestern Oklahoma State, where she’ll play for her uncle Eric Bozeman, and Bell and Payne will move on to Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock.
“I’m going to miss them because they play so well together,” Watson Chapel coach Leslie Henderson said. “It’s a chemistry thing. Of course, it’s a lot of height, too. We’re losing all that. And they get along great.”
The 6-foot Bozeman and 6-1 Bell ruled the post for the Lady Wildcats, who finished unbeaten in the 5A-South Conference this season. Bozeman led the team with 12.8 points and 1.6 blocks per game and shot 66.5 percent from the field as a senior. Bell averaged 6.6 points per game, but shot 62.1 percent from the floor.
And Payne had a team-high 8.1 rebounds to go with 10.3 points a contest. She also shot 50 percent from three-point range.
Arkansas Baptist coach Dion Cross said Bell and Payne are Division-I players.
“The first thing is their IQ for the game,” he said. “I watched them play about four or five times this year to really evaluate them. We normally recruit kids who can go to the next level, and they definitely have the skills to go to the next level.
“Chelsea is a very good defender. She’s long and athletic, and can get to the basket. Jasmine is very strong, physical in the paint, and is mobile in the paint. With those skills there, they’re definitely Division I players.”
Bozeman is headed to a Division II program that competes in the Great American Conference, which includes Arkansas-Monticello. She said the conference affiliation didn’t factor in her decision, but she’s excited to play for her uncle, a former head men’s basketball coach at Henderson State and Southern Arkansas.
“I think this is a great fit,” Leslie Henderson said. “I know she went to visit, she really liked her teammates, and of course her uncle is the coach. He coached here in Arkansas, and I heard nothing but great things about him.”
Bell said she hoped all three would attend college together, but she’s happy to have Payne go with her to Little Rock.