Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: MacArthur true No. 1 team
Jones has triple-double but gets plenty of help in title game rout
AUSTIN — After Alexis Jones nearly had a triple-double in Friday’s Class 5A state semifinal, the point guard assured everyone that she could play at a higher level. She found that level Saturday, and her teammates were hovering nearby as Irving MacArthur blew past Georgetown, 74-51, to win the 5A title in front of 8,937 fans at the Frank Erwin Center.
Jones was spectacular with 25 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists. She drilled 3-pointers, zipped passes to teammates, glided around defenders and dropped in shots over Georgetown’s 6-4 center, Krystal Forthan. It was perhaps the most impressive performance ever at the state tournament.
Jones is a basketball magician, no doubt. But what really made Saturday a magical night for MacArthur (37-2) was the way her teammates made such a strong opponent, anchored by a towering McDonald’s All-American, disappear.
MacArthur, which won the school’s first state title in any team sport, had several players who performed like MVPs. Ayriel Anderson, the 5-3 energizer who plays next to Jones, hit five 3-pointers and finished with 22 points. Forward Khoria Newman poured in 15 points. Center Karmyn Jackson grabbed 10 rebounds and was the primary defender on Forthan.
“I’m really proud of my team,” Jones said. “They really came to play with heart, and when I was struggling, they had my back.”
Apparently those moments of “struggling” were lost in a blur of other dazzling moments. Or maybe Jones is just being humble. Or maybe she’ll score 50 points in next year’s state championship game.
That’s crazy talk, but also realistic talk. The 5-9 junior is that good. She scored 13 points in the first quarter Saturday, and along with Anderson, established a pace that melted Georgetown (33-4). Not until four minutes remained did some blue-clad Georgetown fans begin heading for the exits, but they could’ve left at halftime.
MacArthur was simply playing at a level, and at a speed, that nobody could match. Against a team that had won 16 straight, MacArthur opened up a 10-point lead early in the second quarter and was in cruise control in the second half.
Perhaps the most amazing statistic on a night of amazing statistics was that MacArthur had six turnovers. That’s an incredibly low total for a full-throttle team.
Georgetown had one last gasp when it cut MacArthur’s lead to 56-40 midway through the third quarter. But the moment of hope came and went in the blink of an eye, and the quick hands of Jones, who made a steal and raced downcourt for a layup.
If Georgetown made a play, Jones always had an answer. And once Jones gets going …
“Then she gets her teammates involved,” coach Suzie Oelschlegel said, “and that’s how it works.”
It worked really well Saturday as MacArthur proved it’s more than just one great player. It’s one great team.
The No. 1 team.