Jones hands Roland 1st loss for 1st title
The Jones girls couldn't contain themselves on the sideline.
As the clock winded down and the realization of what they had accomplished began to set in, the Longhorns were on their feet and holding each other back on the sideline.
When the final buzzer finally sounded, they dog-piled near midcourt at State Fair Arena for the first time.
Jones won its first girls basketball state championship with a 63-28 rout over undefeated Roland on Saturday night. Jones ended the season on a 17-game win streak.
"I've never been happier in my whole life," Jones sophomore guard Zoe Tucker said. "The seniors that came here last year didn't get it so it feels like it finally happened. It's a dream come true, really."
It was the first time either Roland or Jones made a state championship appearance. Jones was making its first official state tournament appearance after the 2020 state tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jones didn't disappoint in its first attempt at the tournament, going undefeated and winning all three games by 18 or more points.
"It feels so good, we worked so hard," Tirzah Moore said with tears in her eyes. "Our seniors from last year didn't get to do this so it really means a lot."
Jones' defensive intensity was on full display on Saturday. The Longhorns held Roland to just 10 points in the first half, six of which came at the free-throw line. Jones held Roland to two field goals in the first half, one in the first quarter and one in the second. The defensive outing led to a 16-0 run in the second quarter, which gave Jones a 17-point advantage going into halftime.
Roland failed to recover from its first-half struggles where it shot just 22% from the floor.
“We learned after this pandemic year that you can only control what you can control,” Jones coach Jenni Holbrook said.
“Don’t worry about the uncontrollable because there are many disappointments. We always felt like, defense is something that we can control. We can control blocking out, we can control our effort. Those are things we can control so we really tried to focus on that.”
Offensively, Jones had three scorers in double figures. Tucker took over in the game and finished with 25 points, six rebounds and three steals. Moore followed with 13 points, nine rebounds and two steals, and Boston Berry scored 12 points, grabbed nine rebounds and one steal.
Trinity Moore, Jones’ second-leading scorer this season, scored seven points in her final game as a Longhorn.
“Feeling good,” Holbrook said.
“So happy for my girls and happy for my seniors for last year and I felt like we could have done this last year too with those girls that worked so hard. These girls were trying to fulfill what those girls started and it just meant a lot to them. They played for them.”