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Rams' Ayers California bound

Crystal Ayers is going home to play basketball.

The Ridgewood senior point guard said she made an oral commitment Friday evening to play for San Jose State.

"I just want to go somewhere I can play basketball," Ayers said. "It's what I love."

Born in Santa Monica, Calif., Ayers moved to Pasco County when she was 6 years old. She said the Spartans offered her everything she desired: a program with which she felt comfortable, an academic regime to keep the pressure on her and close proximity to relatives who she hopes will spoil her.

"I really liked the coaching staff and the program there," Ayers said. "Academically, they have a very tough program to keep an eye on you, which is good for me because I can be lazy.

"They don't have a point guard, and they said they haven't signed one up yet. So I have a good chance of getting a lot of playing time."

For consecutive seasons, Ayers was the Times Pasco County and Sunshine Athletic Conference player of the year, voted by the county's coaches. Last season she led the Rams to a 25-4 record, conference and district titles and the playoffs, reaching the region semifinals.

She set a school record with a county-leading 148 assists and the single-game record with 11. Ayers secured the county scoring title as she averaged 15.3, shooting 51 percent from the field. She averaged a county-leading 6.2 steals and 2.7 rebounds.

"I'm happy for her, but she's also going to be leaving me," said her father, Goldie, who has spent years helping train his daughter for Division I-A. "I'm a little sad to see her go, but I'm happy that her hard work has paid off."