Jones leads No. 1 MacArthur girls in blowout

IRVING, Texas -- It was a pretty typical performance for the nation’s third-best senior girls basketball player, a member of the state’s No. 1 ranked team.

Alexis Jones, No. 3 in ESPNU's HoopGurlz Class of 2012 recruit rankings, pulled down eight rebounds, blocked two shots, came up with five steals and scored 17 points in Irving MacArthur’s 80-20 rout of Irving Nimitz on Friday night at Cardinals Gym.

Jones, a silky-smooth 5-foot-9 guard who has signed with Duke, crammed her evening’s accomplishments into an 18-minute window. The lopsided score gave MacArthur coach Suzie Oelschlegel an opportunity to rest starters and use reserves liberally.

MacArthur (23-2, 8-0 in District 6-5A), the defending Class 5A state champion, is ranked No. 1 in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches’ Class 5A poll and No. 18 nationally in the ESPNHS POWERADE FAB 50 Rankings.

“Not much has changed from last season,’’ Jones said. “We like to run the floor and look for each other. We lost post players from last season, but so far that’s only hurt when our shots aren’t falling.’’

Oelschlegel, in her 32nd season at MacArthur, said this year’s team is very unselfish.

“This group of girls is the epitome of a team,’’ the coach said. “They don’t care who get the points. They share the ball. And they have fun.’’

Tory Jacobs, a 5-10 sophomore, scored 14 points for MacArthur and 5-4 senior Ayriel Anderson added 11.

MacArthur suffered both of its defeats over the holidays in the Nike Tournament of Champions in Arizona that drew teams from across the nation.

“That tournament helped our entire team,’’ Jones said. “We didn’t play a good first game, but at least we came back and won a couple of games to show the kind of team we have.’’

For MacArthur to make a return trip to the state Final Four in March, it will have to negotiate a Region I bracket that is likely to include five teams currently ranked among the top 12 in the state: Duncanville, Southlake Carroll, Plano West, Arlington Bowie, and Mansfield Timberview.

“We’re preaching play hard and don’t take any possessions off,’’ Oelschlegel said.

Said Jones: “We need to box out better. Everybody has to come to play every game and defense will be the key. As long as we’re playing D, we’ll put points on the board.’’

Last season’s state championship accomplishment is recognized by a team picture/banner that takes up a good portion of a wall at one end of Cardinals Gym.

“I don't look at it that much,’’ Jones said. “But when I do, it feels good to know we got one. And hopefully, we can get another.’’