AUSTIN -- Irving MacArthur unleashed a vicious 1-2 punch in the Class 5A girls basketball state semifinal in knocking out San Antonio Wagner, 64-51, Friday at the Frank Erwin Center.
The Lady Cardinals' left-handed haymaker is Alexis Jones, ESPN Hoopgurlz 2012 No. 4 national recruit. Jones was easily the standout on the court and finished with a game-high 22 points. She appeared to avoid early jitters and had a hand in MacArthur’s first 13 points -- scoring nine and providing assists to four.
“We wanted to get the biggest lead that we could so, if we made a mistake we wouldn’t have to pick up what we messed up,” Jones said.
“Alexis, she was just hitting. I didn’t even expect it like that,” Wagner senior forward Arielle Roberson said.
MacArthur (35-2) never relinquish the lead. Jones finished one assist and one rebound away from a triple-double, but the standout guard said she wasn’t happy with her game.
“I don’t feel like I did as much as I could to help out,” Jones said. “I feel like I made a lot of mistakes I shouldn’t have made. I feel like I could have done better than I played.”
While Jones was on a level above any other player, she said she would be on an even “better level” in Saturday night's 5A final.
MacArthur’s consistent jab against Wagner was guard Ayriel Anderson. Her speed left full-court passes behind the Wagner defense wide open, leading to 12 points in the game. It was common to see Anderson diving for a loose ball to keep a play alive or going for a steal.
“She’s definitely our spark plug. She brings a lot of energy to the floor,” MacArthur head coach Suzanne Oelschlegel said. “The bunny that’s the energizer – that’s what she does. I don’t know where she gets that energy, but she just keeps it going.”
The court vision of Anderson and Jones also gave post Karmyn Jackson the opportunity to put in 16 points.
“I have to prepare myself because [Jones] does chunk the ball kind of hard,” Jackson said. “I had my hands ready and I always caught the ball.”
MacArthur scored 32 points in the paint Friday. The Lady Cardinals also outscored Wagner (32-6) in points off turnovers, 17-9, and points off the fast break, 15-2.
MacArthur prepares for Round 2 in the state tournament Saturday at 8:30 p.m., playing the winner of Friday night’s Georgetown-Alief Elsik game for the state title.
“Last year when we lost to Cedar Hill, it was pretty upsetting,” Jackson said. “We’ve always worked hard to get where we wanted to go and now we’re here and hopefully we win it.”