By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Jessica January and her Richfield girls’ basketball team are preparing for the state tournament and a quarterfinal match up with their conference rival Hill-Murray.

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If watch her play, you can see why she’s going to DePaul University on a basketball scholarship. She understands the game and loves to compete. It is a driving force that great ones feel every day.

“It’s meant everything,” she said. “It’s the reason why I come to school every day.”

But she comes to school with more than that on her mind. With college courses as part of it, her GPA is ready for this: 4.6. It’s another game, another challenge.

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“I kind of take it serious just like basketball – being on the court and getting better – it’s the same in the classroom,” said January.

She was talented enough that she went out for track to stay in shape for basketball — then won state titles in hurdles.

“I think it really helped basketball overall, my training and staying in shape,” said January.

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This week, however, it’s about basketball as a four-year career comes to a close. She has learned that these times are important because they don’t last.

Mike Max