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Jones Longhorns Girls Basketball Preview – Presented by Central Rural Electric Cooperative

The Jones Lady Longhorns have left quite a mark on the Class 3A state tournament. Since 2021, six games and six wins. Two gold balls with an average margin of victory by 21 points. Jones blasted Roland by 35 to win the 2021 title and Idabel by 24 in 2022. “We stress being the best we can every day,” said head coach Jenni Holbrook, who came to Jones after serving as an assistant in Choctaw. Jones had qualified for its first ever state tournament in 2020, which was canceled due to the pandemic.

And they’ve been taking it out on their opponents ever since. “I tell our team I expect everything they’ve got on every rep. It’s my job to coach you to that high standard,” said Holbrook, who will be fortunate to see many familiar faces in the locker room. How deep is Jones? All five starters return including a pair of state tournament MVP’s. McNeese State signee Boston Berry was the MVP of the 2022 state tournament with Zoe Tucker winning the award in 2021. Seniors Jaelen Maples, Aubrey Bain and junior Sofi Woodson all three started last year’s state championship game.

Bain has shown the courage of a warrior. She recovered from a random drive-by shooting in the leg on a family vacation and a shoulder injury to be ready for the season opener. Woodson provides a massive presence in the paint and has plenty of upside and potential. Kristen Moore adds more senior leadership is bolstered by another wave of talented Jones players. Junior Kasia Hansen, sophomores Karma Lewis and Karizma Johnson will all see plenty of action.

Choctaw move-in Kneah Smith also figures to be a prominent member of the rotation. “Anyone on our team can be the leading scorer,” said Holbrook of her depth and experience. “We are a very unselfish team.” The Longhorns will get a big test in December at the Arkansas Tournament of Champions in a bracket that includes Oklahoma Class 5A state champion Sapulpa and Arkansas Class 7A runner-up Ft. Smith Northside. Jones will open against Arkansas defending 3A state champion Bergman.

No doubt, Holbrook has created a culture of toughness. The Longhorns routinely lift weights inside the middle of a practice, not your typical basketball regimen. “Our players would run through a brick wall. Several of them have older brothers that have experienced athletic success. They want to be remembered for doing their part for the community,” said Holbrook. “They’ve already left an indelible mark on the Jones community.” The key to a three-peat will be consistency.

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