Jones' 27 leads MacArthur girls into third round

COLLEYVILLE, Texas -- There’s an element of danger for Alexis Jones’ basketball teammates at Irving MacArthur.

Jones’ bullet passes often catch unsuspecting teammates by surprise. Embarrassment can be only a part of the price to pay.

Her fellow Lady Cardinals couldn’t handle a few potential assists Friday night, but it was no concern as MacArthur breezed to a 64-47 victory over Keller in a Class 5A Region I area-round playoff at Colleyville Heritage.

Jones, a Duke signee rated the No. 3 senior in the nation by ESPNU Hoop Gurlz, led the defending Class 5A state champions in points (27) and rebounds (nine).

“We have to be aware of Alexis passes at all times,’’ said backcourt mate Ayriel Anderson (17 points), a teammate of Jones since eighth grade. “Sometimes her passes are hard to catch with all the spin she puts on it. But that's no excuse for missing one. They are usually right on target.’’

Jones, a left-handed 5-foot-9 point guard, topped her 24-point season average by hitting 8-of-20 field goals (including four 3-pointers) and 7-of-10 free throws.

“If she’s not the best guard in the country, I’d like to see the best,’’ said Keller coach Doug Sporrer. “She can shoot the 3 and she’s quick enough to go past a defender. Most can do one or the other, but not both. That’s why they’re the defending state champs.’’

MacArthur (33-2), No. 1 in ESPNDallas.com's Class 5A Top 10 and No. 13 nationally in the POWERADE FAB 50, extended a press to force 13 Keller turnovers and build an 18-point halftime lead.

“We tried to get out fast and get a lead because we knew they could shoot the 3s,’’ said Anderson.

“Three-pointers are Keller’s game, and we had to be aware of a couple of their shooters,’’ MacArthur coach Suzie Oelschlegel said. “I thought we played some pretty good defense.’’

Keller (27-7), the District 7-5A co-champion, managed to hit four 3-pointers in the first half, but only three 2-point field goals.

Credit Keller, which picked up the program’s first playoff victory since 1999 in the bi-district round, for keeping the deficit inside 20 points for the game’s final 10 minutes.

“I’m proud of the way we battled in the second half,’’ said Keller’s Sporrer.

Taylor Vincent, a 5-foot-10 senior, led Keller with 20 points. Lindsey Miner, a 5-foot-7 senior, chipped in with 11.

MacArthur’s victory sets up a No. 1 vs. No. 3 third-round playoff meeting against Plano West (34-2). The game is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday at Hebron.

The teams have met once, with the Lady Cardinals defeating Plano West, 56-51, in a tournament game on Nov. 19.