2020 Nikiski High School graduate America Jeffreys signs to play at Bushnell University in Eugene, Oregon, as Principal Dan Carstens, mother Kelly Jeffreys, father BJ Jeffreys and girls head basketball coach Rustin Hitchcock look on Wednesday, June 3, 2020. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

2020 Nikiski High School graduate America Jeffreys signs to play at Bushnell University in Eugene, Oregon, as Principal Dan Carstens, mother Kelly Jeffreys, father BJ Jeffreys and girls head basketball coach Rustin Hitchcock look on Wednesday, June 3, 2020. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Jeffreys to play basketball at Bushnell

Staff report

America Jeffreys, a 2020 graduate of Nikiski High School, signed a Letter of Intent on Wednesday to play basketball for NAIA school Bushnell University, which recently changed its name from Northwest Christian University.

Bushnell is located in Eugene, Oregon. In his second season, Chad Meadors led the Beacons to a record 26-win season and their first Cascade Collegiate Conference regular season and tournament championships. The Beacons also qualified for the NAIA National Championship as the No. 4 seed, but that event was canceled due to the new coronavirus pandemic.

Jeffreys, the daughter of BJ and Kelly Jeffreys of Nikiski, will have her education almost all paid for, thanks to an athletic scholarship and local and state academic scholarships, according to Kelly.

America finished as Nikiski’s valedictorian. She also had standout careers in basketball and volleyball for the Bulldogs.

In basketball, the Bulldogs finished fifth in Class 3A state when Jeffreys was a freshman, fourth when Jeffreys was a sophomore and second when Jeffreys was junior.

As a senior, Jeffreys was selected to the Southcentral Conference first team. In mid-March, she tore her left anterior cruciate ligament right before the Southcentral Conference tournament.

In the Southcentral title game, Anchorage Christian Schools let Jeffreys on the floor so she could score a final basket of her prep career. The Bulldogs qualified for the state tournament, but that never happened due to the new coronavirus.

Kelly Jeffreys said her daughter is planning on playing basketball for the Beacons as a freshman.

“They’re going to help her in her recovery,” Kelly said of the Bushnell staff. “One of the things she liked is she’ll get really good care from basketball coaches in her recovery.”

Kelly said the plan is to report to Bushnell in fall for classes, but of course that could change due to the new coronavirus.

Jeffreys ended up with 415 points, 324 rebounds, 133 assists, 220 steals and 14 blocks in her Nikiski career.

In volleyball, Jeffreys was named the best 3A defensive specialist in helping the Bulldogs to a third-place finish at state. She also earned first-team all-state and first-team Southcentral Conference honors.

In 2018, Jeffreys helped the Bulldogs storm to the Class 3A state volleyball title.

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