by Fred Baer
Janisa Jones had a rude wake-up call for her final home basketball game at College of San Mateo on Wednesday. A light plane crashed at her East Palo Alto home just before 8 a.m.
"I heard a boom and I thought it was an earthquake, she said. "So I was just going to go back to sleep. Then a neighbor came over and said our house was on fire. I'm just happy to be alive, so I thought I might as well play like it."
Jones, a 5-8 sophomore out of Sacred Heart Prep, had a double-double to pace the Bulldogs' 76-62 Coast Conference North victory over visiting Las Positas College on Wednesday night.
She had 12 rebounds, five assists, and three steals to go with her 11 points. But, Jones is also homeless for awhile, along with the six other people in her home, which the family owns. And her mother's day care business at the house has been curtailed.
"My room was on fire," Jones said. "I lost a lot of personal things. My (gym) bag was packed for the game. And it was OK."
Jones was shocked by the carnage (all three in the plane were dead) and damage.
"Half of the plane is in our back yard and the other half across the street," she said.
CSM coach Michelle Warner said that perhaps Jones needed to put the incident behind her and was able to focus on just playing.
Four CSM players live in East Palo Alto, including season scoring leader Erica Hayes (a Menlo-Atherton High graduate), who led everyone with 19 points and also had five rebounds, three steals, and a blocked shot in Wednesday's game. The others are starter Shakara Haynes and Kendra Thomas. Those three student athletes had left East Palo Alto for school before the plane crash, according to Warner.
San Mateo (15-10, 5-4 Coast North) hopes to keep third place to itself (and a likely state playoff berth) in Friday night's regular-season finale at fourth place Chabot College (14-11, 4-5) in Hayward at 5:30 p.m. CSM won the first round meeting with the Gladiators, 71-68.