Basketball

Jadence Clifton to play for Humboldt State

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Ray Hamill/HumboldtSports.com – Jadence Clifton in action at St. Bernard’s on Wednesday night.

By Ray Hamill — Local basketball fans got some big news on Friday with the announcement that reigning Big 5 co-MVP Jadence Clifton will play at Humboldt State next season.

The Del Norte standout, who was a McDonald’s All-American nominee earlier this year, has been one of the top small schools guards in the North Coast Section over the past couple of years and is expected to have an immediate impact with the Jacks.

Clifton had originally planned on playing for Oregon Tech after high school but changed her plans when HSU head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson came calling.

“Humboldt has always been my number one choice,” Clifton said. “Just because it’s local and I went to camps there, and it’s just a great program and coach Bento is a great coach.”

The Jacks have been remarkably competitive under Bento-Jackson in recent years, winning the California Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament in 2018.

The addition of Clifton will no doubt help create further interest in the program.

“We are ecstatic,” Bento-Jackson said. “Jadence is a talented gym rat who is a competitor and who has a skill set which fits in perfectly with our style of play. 

“She is a point guard who loves to push the pace, has great shooting ability and also a terrific ability to create for her teammates.”

Clifton, along with former teammate Kaleya Sanchez, played a pivotal role in helping the Warriors win a first-ever Big 5 title and a Dick Niclai championship as a sophomore in 2019.

Last season, she averaged 24.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, while posting a double-double in each of Del Norte’s eight league games. 

Submitted photo

She has carried that momentum into this season, where she continues to lead the way on a young Del Norte team and came within one assist of recording a quadruple-double against South Fork earlier this week.

Clifton got the call from Bento-Jackson two weeks ago and immediately accepted the offer.

“I’m just ready to play for a great program,” she said. “I can’t wait to see what I can bring to the program and how much better I can get under coach Bento.”

Her father and high school coach, Justin Clifton, says Jadence was excited to get the call.

“She’s been to camps there and she’s always wanted to play there,” he said. “It was meant to be, and that’s nothing against Oregon Tech.”

Clifton will play point guard for the Jacks.

Submitted photo – Jadence while attending a camp at Humboldt State a few years ago.

“Jadence really loves the game of basketball and is a winner,” Bento-Jackson added. “She truly checks all the boxes in what we look for in our program. She is a special young lady both on and off the court and the Humboldt community will fall in love with her as a person and as a player.”

This season, Clifton is averaging 22.4 points, 11.7 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 8.5 steals per game and last week became the Warriors all-time leading scorer.

“Ultimately, this was the best decision in regards to both basketball and my education,” Jadence added. “I can’t wait to play ball at HSU surrounded by what has always felt like home and have all the continued support of my family, friends, and community. Go Jacks!”

The Warriors are 4-1 this season and coming off a big win on the road at Eureka on Thursday night.

“That was awesome,” Jadence said of the win over the previously undefeated Loggers. “This season has been super fun. I wish I had a full season with these girls, but we’re really coming together.”

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