Sophomore Guard Zoe Tucker scored 25 points as the Jones Longhorns defeated the Roland Rangers 63-28 on Saturday Night in Oklahoma City for the first Gold Ball for the Girls Team in Jones High School history.
Hundreds of fans, friends and family made the way to the State Fairgrounds to observe a contest that didn’t tip off until after 8:40 due to the earlier games running late. The late start and the big stage created some early game jitters for both squads, as both teams were cold shooting the ball. The Longhorns carried a 13-6 lead into the second quarter.
Roland came into the Title Game 21-0 and ranked #1 in the State. The Rangers are known for their aggressive defense and lights-out shooting. It was clear that the Roland defensive strategy was to keep Tirzah and Trinity Moore out of the paint. This created numerous one-on-one opportunities to drive to the basket for Guards Zoe Tucker and Boston Berry. The athletic guards overwhelmed the perimeter defense of the Rangers. The Longhorns outscored the Rangers 14-4 to take a 27-10 lead into the break.
Head Coach Jenni Holbrook credited her players execution of the extended zone defense in frustrating the Ranger outside game, “they live and die by the three, and when those shots wouldn’t fall, they didn’t really know what to do.” The Rangers finished 2/17 from behind the arc. The Rangers were averaging 61 points per game during the Playoffs up until the title game.
The Rangers showed a few signs of life in the second half, but each time they would try to make a run the Longhorns would stretch out the lead. Tirzah Moore finished her Longhorn career with 13 points and 9 rebounds. “If I can’t score, I’ve got to do something, so I made my purpose to get rebounds in second half” Moore stated after the game. The arms of Trinity and Tirzah frustrated the Rangers most of the evening. Trinity finished the night with 7 points and 4 boards. The next time twins suit up on the hardwood it will no longer be in Kelly Green, but the Navy and Gold of the Oral Roberts Eagles.
Sophomore guard Boston Berry handed the defensive pressure well, scoring 12 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. Her ball handing skills kept the Ranger defenders and bay and smart passes prevented the Roland squad from getting a lot of fast break points.
But what can be said about the performance of Zoe Tucker. Tucker scored 25 points on 11/14 shooting, 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 steals. Her driving to the basket past the perimeter defense early in the 1st quarter set the tone for the game. “She took what was hers, she played within her role and she made it happen” Coach Holbrook said. An excited Tucker exclaimed after the game, “I’ve never been so excited in my entire life.”
Countless references were made to the Senior Class of 2020, that helped make history by making the State Tournament for the first time. The honor, respect and admiration has towards the 2020 Senior class was evident throughout the celebration. Tirzah and Trinity also played in honor of Bo Duren, who was a tremendous influence on the twins during the first year in Jones.
Congratulations to the Jones High School Girls Basketball team, the Oklahoma Class 3A Champions!