CASS LAKE -- For five seasons, Jarell Jacobs made a name for himself with the Cass Lake-Bena boys basketball team. Now, he’ll try to make a name for Cass Lake-Bena at the next level.

“(I’m) just trying to represent my home, my community, by sticking through it even when it gets hard,” Jacobs said. “Being able to be a role model for the younger student-athletes who are coming up.”

Jacobs departed the Panthers program as its second-leading scorer all-time, compiling 805 points this season to reach 2,100 in his career. All those points forged a path to Devils Lake, N.D., as he officially committed to play at Lake Region State College on Monday.

“The coach (Jared Marshall) has been talking to me since probably January,” Jacobs said. “It felt like the right pick because they’ve shown a lot of support even though I wasn’t in their program yet.”

Jacobs said he’d drawn additional interest at Itasca Community College, Bismarck State and United Tribes Technical College, also in Bismarck, N.D. But the Royals won out, and CLB head coach John Wind knows they landed a winner.

“Jarell is a coachable kid. He’s a shooter,” Wind said. “He’s someone that works. He’ll work in the weight room. I think he’s going to do great over there. He’s going to help that program.”

Jacobs, a five-year varsity veteran, went 125-24 as a Panther. Win No. 126 would have clinched a Section 8A championship, but the coronavirus kept Cass Lake-Bena and Ada-Borup from squaring off in the title game for a third straight year.

“That was real hard on them in the sense that this was the rubber match game,” said Wind, who led the Panthers to the 2018 championship before losing in 2019. “As a coach, I thought that was going to be a good game. Even Jarell as a player, he wanted to match up and see what Ada was going to do. It was a challenge that all the boys were looking forward to.”

About an hour before shootaround on the morning of the game, players started seeing the now-infamous updates on social media. The Minnesota State High School League canceled all remaining winter sports, proving to be the only force that Cass Lake-Bena couldn’t overcome in the postseason.

“At first it was kind of hard, for all the work I put in and all the stuff I went through,” Jacobs said. “It wasn’t just me that was going through it. Players from around the state and the world were affected by it, also.”

Though his career was cut short, Jacobs has still kept busy since. In preparation for the junior college level, he’s working out at home and getting up shots whenever he can.

And if one thing’s for sure, it’s that a player who got his start in Cass Lake-Bena will surely be repping his hometown when he leaves it.

“When I was younger, I got moved up from eighth grade (ball) to varsity,” Jacobs said. “I learned that the game changed physically. (That) made me work during the summer, lifting weights or just getting in the gym. I think it prepared me to work hard wherever I decided to go, and this is where I chose to go. The same thing I did at Cass Lake, I’m going to do at Lake Region.”