Wixon: Alexis Jones' 'quiet' 44 points set up MacArthur-Duncanville final

FORT WORTH — As Irving MacArthur was putting the finishing touches on its 76-62 victory over Lubbock Coronado on Friday, a radio announcer mentioned that guard Alexis Jones was not the person Coronado wanted to foul.

“But she’s the only one who ever has the ball,” he said.

That’s only a slight exaggeration. And it’s no exaggeration to say that Jones didn’t have a great game despite a big scoring night as MacArthur advanced to the Class 5A Region I final. MacArthur (35-2) will face Duncanville (37-1), a 60-29 winner over Amarillo in Friday’s other semifinal, at 1 p.m. Saturday for a spot in the state tournament.

Jones didn’t have her best game, but the senior still scored 17 straight points for MacArthur in the second half. She made a running 25-footer at the third-quarter buzzer, sank 12 of 13 free throws, dished out six assists and ignited several fastbreaks with steals.

And, oh yes, she scored 44 points at the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center.

“She did?” MacArthur coach Suzie Oelschlegel said. “She had that many?”

Jones, who has scored more than 50 before, is the rare player who can have a somewhat-quiet 44 points. The senior also made only four of 14 3-pointers.

“I was really struggling out there,” she said.

Well, maybe by her standards. But MacArthur, the 5A defending champion, definitely had moments of struggle against Lubbock Coronado (27-7). MacArthur broke out to a 14-point lead early in the second half, but Coronado trimmed the lead to 53-50 early in the fourth quarter.

Jones then hit a pair of free throws — her 16th and 17th straight points for MacArthur — before passing to Khoria Newman for a 3-pointer that pushed the lead back to eight and got MacArthur rolling.

For MacArthur, which has not lost to a Texas team this season, it was a tighter game than expected. Coronado stayed in range by hitting the boards and getting a lot of second-chance points.

“I hope we got all the ugly out,” Oelschlegel said. “We need to do a much better job on the boards.”

That will be especially true against Duncanville, which had a 20-point lead against Amarillo by early in the second quarter. Duncanville squeezed the life out of Amarillo (29-7) with pressure defense and efficient offensive sets that netted open looks near the basket and beyond the 3-point arc.

Duncanville had four players score in double figures: Ariel Atkins (12), Tasia Foman (12), Morgan Bolton (11) and Empress Davenport (11).

The Pantherettes dominated all over the court, setting up the Region I showdown many had expected from the start of the season.

“We’ve been wanting MacArthur all year, and they’ve been wanting us. I think both teams are excited,” Duncanville coach Cathy Self-Morgan said. “I think it’s going to be the state championship.”

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