Jason entered Ponaganset in the fall of 1978. He had finished his schooling at Harmony Hill School and now Ponaganset offered him a wealth of academic and athletic opportunities. Jason wasted no time in establishing his potential in basketball, earning a starting position on the varsity team. His fluid moves and blazing speed soon helped Ponaganset jump from a mediocre team to a contender. Starting again as a sophomore – and meshing with four veteran seniors – the team went 25-5. Jason was fast becoming the player the team revolved around, leading the Chieftains in both steals and assists. The team lost in the state finals, but Jason was selected to the all-league team.
Jason’s junior season was marked by frustration and pain due to a knee injury. He was only able to play limited time due to the injury but worked very hard to rehab his knee. Coming off the bench, Jason provided a disruptive force on defense and was a definitive offensive threat. In the state finals, Jason scored a critical basket to ensure the win – Ponaganset’s first state basketball championship, prompting the Providence Journal headline “Ponaganset’s Shipp has finally come in.”
In his senior year, the team was short on numbers but high on talent. Teaming with Chris Howard and Pat Maloney, Jason led a team that was running over the opposition. He averaged 17 points, seven steals, six assists and five rebounds per game while his play gained recognition across the state. Returning to the state finals for the third-straight year, the Chieftains put on quite a show, winning for the second-consecutive season. Ponaganset had established itself as a power, and Jason had established himself as the top player in the state. When the season was over, Jason was named the playoff MVP, all-league first team, Woonsocket Call First Team, all-state first team and all-America honorable mention. He was also just the second player in school history to hit the 1,000-point milestone. Jason still owns school records for assists (362) and steals (308) and ranks ninth in blocked shots (61).
Jason’s senior year, he decided to join the track team. After just one day of practice, he won the 100, 220, long jump and relay. In the state meet, he finished second in the 100 but broke the state record. He also finished second in the 220 and third in the long jump. At the end of the year, he was named second team all-state in the 100 and 220.
Throughout his four-year career, he established himself as one of Ponaganset’s greatest athletes, leaving behind records that took decades to break. Upon graduation, Jason went on to play basketball at CCRI and then became a member of the Providence Fire Department. Today, he is married with four children and is the proud grandfather of nine grandchildren.