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Johnson, Beck back together again
Jode Johnson and Jamie Beck played multiple sports together at Ceres High, including basketball, volleyball and softball.

Johnson and Beck embarked on different paths following graduation in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

Jamie joined the Modesto Junior College women's basketball and volleyball teams.

Jode earned a scholarship to play hoops and softball for NAIA Division-II William Jessup University.

Beck and Johnson have since reunited.

"They're good kids," Modesto JC hoops head coach Mike Girardi said. "They have great attitudes and play hard."

"It's been fun playing with her again," said Johnson, a 5-foot-9 speedy forward/guard. "I consider her a lifetime friend."

"It's exactly like it was in high school," said Beck, a 6-foot-2 sophomore center. "It's as if we never left each other. We get along great."

Johnson and Beck both start for the Pirates, who won six of their first seven games of the season.

Jode and Jamie played key roles while leading Modesto Junior College to a first-place finish (3-0) at the Las Positas tournament.

Johnson was named to the all-tourney team.

She had 14 points and seven steals during the Pirates' 57-44 victory over Delta College in the title game.

"Jode was phenomenal," Girardi said.

Added Johnson: "I've always enjoyed playing defense and making other teams work."

Said Beck: "Jode's a big addition to our team. She's so talented. Her speed is amazing."

Beck added nine points, five rebounds and eight blocks while making her first start of the season. She totaled 16 blocks during the tournament.

Beck missed the first three games of the 2012-13 campaign because of another commitment. Jamie ranked first in the state in blocks during her second season with the Pirates' volleyball team.

"There's a big difference when she (Beck) is on the floor," Girardi said. "Jamie has a knack for blocking shots without fouling. Her timing is really good."

Johnson starred in softball and contributed off the bench in basketball at William Jessup University.

She took last season off to focus on academics after transferring to Modesto JC.

"I missed playing sports but I knew I would come back to it," Johnson said. "I just wanted a fresh start. It (William Jessup) wasn't the right school for me. It was a total different lifestyle. I'm happy where I'm at now."

Jode helped lead William Jessup's softball team to the Cal-Pacific Conference regular season title.

Johnson was named Cal-Pac Conference Freshman of the Year.

She hit .374 with two homers, one triple, four doubles, 16 RBIs, 31 runs and eight stolen bases while batting leadoff and starring in right field.

Jode was a role player on William Jessup's basketball team, which collected 13 wins and tied for second place in the Cal-Pac Conference.

Johnson totaled 113 points, 60 rebounds, 17 assists, 10 steals and one block.

She had a career-high 14 points in an 82-52 loss to Oregon Tech.

Jode was voted Ceres High Female Athlete of the Year a school-record three times.

"When I heard Jode was attending Modesto Junior College last year, I talked to her right away," Girardi said. "Obviously, everyone knows how good of an athlete she is. She's an even-better teammate. She's always positive."

"The only difference between high school and junior college is the tempo of the game," Johnson said. "The speed is faster."

Beck had a memorable freshman year with Modesto JC's basketball team.

She shattered former Pirate and Bullldog Krystle Brown's single-season blocks record (78).

Gena (Weese) Beck, Jamie's mother, played for the Pirates in 1987-88. She was a dominant rebounder. Gena ranks in the top 10 for boards in a single season.

"I just want to try to be better than I was last year," Jamie said. "I want to up my rebounding and scoring. I'm looking to break my blocks record again."

"She'll have options," Girardi said when asked if Beck would play basketball or volleyball at a four-year college.

The Modesto Junior College women's basketball team struggled to a 13-14 record and placed fifth in the Big 8 Conference (4-10) in 2011-12.

"We're going to be a lot better than last year," Beck said.

Added Johnson: "Our ultimate goal is to take league. We have the talent to do it."

Said Girardi: "We have really good chemistry."