FIRTH — With a stroke of a pen Thursday afternoon Firth senior Kayla Jensen did something no other Firth girls basketball player in seven years had done; sign a National Letter of Intent to play college basketball.
The senior wing signed to play for Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake, Wash. on Thursday at Firth High School.
"It just felt right," Jensen said of why she chose Big Bend. "It was the perfect fit for me. Everyone was so nice and I really liked the campus, this was the best decision for me."
Having some familiar faces on the team also played a factor in Jensen's decision.
Former Shelley High player Sam Orme, West Jefferson's Riley Jemmett and Ririe's Tasha Huff all currently attend Big Bend and Snake River's Makena Shelley recently signed last week to play at Big Bend, so Eastern Idaho is well represented in Washington.
"I was worried that the other girls and I were going to butt heads, but we all got along really great," Jensen said. "Having people on the team that I knew was definitely a factor in my decision to go to Big Bend."
Jensen will join a Vikings roster that is loaded with players from Eastern Idaho.
"Coach (Preston) Wilks was super nice and once he found out that i was interested in playing college basketball he texted me every other day to see how I was doing," Jensen said. "And went I went there on a visit he was super nice to me and very outgoing. My parents asked him how come he recruits 10 hours away and he said he loves the small towns. He said small town girls know how to work hard, not that city girls don't, but they have been raised to work hard and that is why I recruit there."
Jensen was a three sport athlete while at Firth playing volleyball, basketball and running track, but it wasn't always a dream of hers to play basketball in college, that decision has changed over time.
"As a freshman I wanted to play college volleyball because I was on a traveling team and I love it, but playing that much volleyball I kind of got sick of it," Jensen said. "ISU wanted me to run track for them so I went down there, but I realized I just did not want to run track, it is actually the least favorite sport of the three."
Jensen said she debated heavily between just going to college and going to play a sport while in college.
Jensen is the first Cougar in seven years to sign a letter of intent to play basketball. Bailey Guthrie was the last Cougar player to play at the next level.
"It is really cool to think I stood out enough," Jensen said. "I am from a small town and you don't get recognized as much as the big schools, but what an accomplishment. How cool is it to say I went to 2A Firth a town that no one really knows where it is, to going to play college ball."
The opportunity to play at the next level caps of a year that saw Jensen and the rest of her Firth teammates win a state title as well as earning All-State honors.
"We have coaches at Firth that really know what they are doing," Jensen said. "We work hard on the floor and that hard work paid off this season."
Jensen joins a Vikings squad that finished 16-12 the past season.