Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Slick Alexis Jones could make Irving MacArthur unbeatable
AUSTIN — In her state tournament debut, Alexis Jones wowed the crowd with a pull-up 3-pointer on a fast break, a beautiful assist to Karmyn Jackson in the lane and an ankle-breaker crossover dribble that set up a swished 17-foot jumper.
And that was just in the first four minutes. The best was yet to come Friday in Irving MacArthur’s 64-51 win over San Antonio Wagner in a Class 5A semifinal.
Now MacArthur (36-2) hopes the best is yet to come Saturday when it plays for the school’s first state title in a team sport. You’ve got to like the chances of a team led by a point guard who scores 22 points, grabs nine rebounds, dishes out nine assists — and isn’t satisfied.
“I don’t feel like I did as much as I could to help out,” said Jones, a 5-9 junior whom some consider the nation’s top recruit in the Class of 2012. “I have a better level than I played today.”
And yes, she’s right, because Jones’ basketball ceiling is astounding. Against Wagner (32-7), her shot was off in the second half and she turned the ball over more than usual. But even with some missed shots and a few errant passes, the 5,142 fans at the Frank Erwin Center saw why her ability is best described as amazing.
Few girls basketball players pull up for 3-pointers in transition — and make them. Even fewer can make spin moves in the lane, leap in the air and have the body control to glide around a defender for a bank shot. And Jones might be the best passer in the state. When she brings the ball downcourt, you can see her eyes breaking down the defense and working out angles for no-look dishes and pinpoint passes across the lane.
“I have to prepare myself,” said MacArthur senior center Karmyn Jackson, who had 16 points and seven rebounds. “Because she does throw the ball kind of hard.”
Jones also throws the ball a lot. She could probably score 30, maybe 40, points in every game, but she takes pride in her passing. That passion for passing seems to be true for the entire MacArthur team, and it showed as MacArthur rolled to its 17th straight win.
In the second quarter, junior guard Ayriel Anderson made a steal, streaked down the court and dished to Jackson, who tipped the ball to Khoria Newman for a layup. In the fourth quarter, Anderson led another fastbreak and could’ve gone up for a layup. Instead, she made a nifty pass over her shoulder to Jackson for a layup.
That gave MacArthur a 51-35 lead, and it gave fans a glimpse of why MacArthur is one victory from its ultimate goal. It’s not just Jones.
“The players are very unselfish,” coach Suzie Oelschlegel said. “The entire team, through the entire season, they have played as one.”
Now they get to play to be No. 1.