Ligonier Valley junior Jones uses experience to drive basketball team
No one in sports loves to lose. This is no different for junior forward Jordan Jones, who does his all to not let down his team.
Jones, who is averaging 16.2 points, has led a young Ligonier Valley boys basketball team to a 4-6 record overall and 3-2 in Heritage Conference play.
The Rams have won three of the last four games, and Jones recorded a 22-point, 20-rebound effort in a 64-26 win over Penns Manor earlier this month.
“I try to do my best every game. If those are the numbers at the end of game, those are number at the end of the game,” Jones said. “But what is more important is that it's a win and not a loss.”
Rams coach Todd Hepner understands Jones always shows up in the box score, but he said the Rams don't just consist of one player.
“He's a big part of the team and a workhorse inside,” Hepner said.
“He has a great attitude and is a real nice team player. He's a big part of our team, but we aren't just about one player. We are a team.”
Jones' personal drive to do his all and help will his team to victory has been noted by coaches and teammates.
“He's a very coachable kid,” Hepner said. “He's a workhorse, and at times he over-tries sometimes. I tell him to just play the game and to not think too much but just react. Now he's coming around as a player, and we are very pleased with him.”
When his team isn't able to come out on top in a particular game, Jones immediately points the finger at himself.
“I guess it comes from me playing sports and trying to do my best,” Jones said. “When we lose, I feel like I have under-achieved. I want to give it my all and help my team do better, but I know we will do better next time.”
Jones' biggest scoring output occurred when he scored 24 points in a 60-48 loss to Shanksville Stonycreek on Dec. 7.
Ten days later, Jones scored 23 points in a 74-51 win over Northern Cambria.
“The coaches are doing a great job of giving the instructions to us,” Jones said. “We aren't doing anything wrong. With the lack of experience, the coaches are making up for that.”
Being one of the more experienced players on the team, Jones has been making sure the underclassmen continue to stay positive as the playoffs are still possible for the Rams.
“I'm just trying to pretty much tell them anything can happen. Anyone can make a run in the conference,” Jones said. “Last year, Northern Cambria came from A to AA and made the playoffs. Anything can happen. We just need to string a couple wins together because there is still time.”
Jones understands the team is very inexperienced but still believes the season can be turned around.
“I think we are going to continue growing and getting better as a team,” Jones said. “The coaches are doing a good job in helping us grow, and I think it's going to turn out to be good season.”
Andrew John is a freelance writer.