Jones helps MacArthur girls thump Plano West

CARROLLTON, Texas -- Alexis Jones draws all eyes when she has the ball in her hands.

Fans stay glued to her 5-foot-9 frame in hopes of seeing another highlight, while opponents constantly follow her on the court -- sometimes ill advisedly.

On Tuesday, everyone watched the junior make a state-ranked Plano West team look ordinary as Jones scored 35 in MacArthur's 71-58 win in the Class 5A Region I quarterfinals at Carrollton Creekview High School.

MacArthur advances to play North Crowley to open the Region I tournament at 6 p.m. on Friday at Fort Worth ISD's Wilkerson-Grines Activity Center.

"As a team, we're very solid, and we have to take advantage of every opportunity that we get," said MacArthur head coach Suzie Oelschlegel.

Jones, ranked No. 4 in the nation by ESPN in the class of 2012, added eight rebounds and eight assists to her impressive stat line, and her hot hand in the fourth quarter helped MacArthur seal the win after Plano West gained some momentum.

MacArthur (33-2) led by as many as 17 in the third quarter but Plano West (28-7) used a 9-0 run that extended into the fourth quarter to cut its deficit to just six points.

"We were playing lazy defense [in the third quarter]," Jones said "We just needed to get it together."

But Jones, who said she suffered her first cramp of the season in third quarter, found her game after a MacArthur timeout, scoring 15 of her team's 21 points in the final frame.

"That fourth quarter there toward the end, we finished strong," Oelschlegel said.

MacArthur ended the regular season ranked No. 2 in the ESPNDallas.com Class 5A area poll, and Plano West was No. 6.

The attention Jones garners also benefits her teammates. With opponents so fixated on her whereabouts, MacArthur attackers are often left unguarded and open for an easy assist.

Senior post Karmyn Jackson is the perfect example. When Jones charges the rim, defenders collapse around her, leaving Jackson alone in the paint. Jackson scored 14 points.

Plano West looked lost to open the game as MacArthur jumped out to an 18-6 lead in the first quarter, but the Lady Wolves recommitted to an aggressive defensive style that helped them keep the game in reach.

MacArthur's lead shrunk to five points in the opening seconds of the second quarter and held steady at six before the Lady Cardinals outscored Plano West 15-5 to close the half.