One of the most-read articles on the Jones Journal for 2020 was the Article “Three Words That Helped Motivate the #2 Longhorns to the State Tournament.” It was published on March 11, 2020. It celebrated the Accomplishments of the Jones Longhorns Girls basketball team. Little did we know how the world was going to change practically overnight. On the evening of March 11, the Oklahoma City Thunder game was canceled due to a positive COVID test for two Utah Jazz players. On March 12, while the Jones Girls were on the way to the State Tournament, the OSSAA postponed the Tournament. A few weeks later it would be completely canceled.
Head Coach Jenni Holbrook and the Longhorns find themselves back in a position that is simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar. The Jones Girls are making their second State Tournament appearance with an all-time State record of 0-0. The Horns proved that the run to the State Tournament in 2020 was no fluke, beating the #8 Kingston Redskins 66-30 to punch their ticket to the Big House. When asked if the memories from the abrupt end to the 2020 season have been brought up Coach Holbrook simply replied “Hopefully we’ll get to walk in the doors this year…we won’t believe it until we get on the court and play.”
The #2 Longhorns have been dominant during the playoff run, with an average margin of victory of 51.5 points. But Coach Holbrook understands the level of competition will skyrocket from here on out. “There will be worthy opponents every single game. These are the top eight teams in the State.”
Up first for Jones are the #14 Hugo Lady Buffalos Wednesday Night at the State Fair Arena. “Hugo is a well coached, athletic team with a couple of really good scorers.” The winner will advance to the semi-final game played on Friday night in Noble.
While the level of competition is going up, Coach Holbrook knows the formula that got her team to this point, so they will hesitate to deviate from their style of basketball. “We control what we can control. Which is why we focus so much on defense. Shots don’t always fall, but we can control what we do on defense.”
When asked about what made this team special, Coach Holbrook focused on the intangibles.
“They are a fun team to watch, they are a fun team to coach. I don’t have to coach effort. I don’t have to coach attitude. They love playing together and they would run through a brick wall for their teammates.”
The Longhorns finally got the chance to hang a banner on the wall last year. They have already earned another banner this year. But the vision doesn’t stop there.
Last year was about making history. This year is about creating a legacy. Creating an expectation that the Jones High School Girls Basketball team will make a run to the State Tournament every year. Creating excitement throughout the community.
“We don’t just want a banner on the wall, we want a banner that says State Champions.”
There is still room on the wall.