The senior Lady Mustang will make the transition to Lady Bulldog next year after signing with Tennessee Wesleyan College (TWC).
“The Lord has blessed me with so much. This is a dream come true, to be able to continue playing the game that I love,” Jones declared. “This is something I have worked for forever, so it’s really exciting and rewarding. I’m overwhelmed that I was even considered — it’s a huge honor.”
For Walker Valley head coach Jessica Stone, a former All-American herself at Lee University, it comes as no surprise that Jones’ skills attracted collegiate attention.
“The way she shoots the ball and her defensive skills are probably what attracted TWC. Knowing she can get it done on both ends of the floor is a big thing at the college level,” Stone explained. “I think she will fit in great. She can shoot and she is one of our best defenders. I believe she can defend and play at the college level. She’s worked so hard and puts in extra effort and time. I’m proud of her and think she deserves this 100 percent.”
Jones, who transferred from Bradley Central to Walker Valley, and has been playing for the Lady Mustangs these past two years is putting up some impressive numbers in her senior season.
Averaging 11.5 points per game, Jones is shooting 41-percent from behind the arc and is currently 80-percent from the free-throw line.
“About a month or two ago Coach (Jeff) Rice came to a game and right on the spot made me an offer. They like my 3-point shot…I’m going to keep working at that and getting better so hopefully I can play and bring that to the table at Tennessee Wesleyan,” Jones stated.
According to TWC head coach Jeff Rice, Jones’ offensive and defensive abilities are what caught his attention.
“We’ve seen her play a little in the past and anytime you can get a kid who can shoot the basketball like she can we try to get them,” Rice explained. “She plays great defense and is extremely good on that end of the floor and her ability to shoot the basketball fits right in with what we want to do.”
Currently the Lady Bulldogs are 14-3 overall, and first in the Appalachian Athletic Conference with their record of 11-2.
In the NAIA DII Coaches’ Top 25 Poll that came out yesterday, Tennessee Wesleyan was ranked 21st.
With the players the Lady Bulldogs will be losing next year, Coach Rice believes the possibility for Jones to see playing time during her freshman season is there.
Jones will be joining former Lady Mustangs Courtney Gobble and Alli Moreland, who will be in their senior season.
“She’ll have a chance (because) makers don’t sit. We’re losing two perimeter players and a four-year starter. We’re signing three perimeter players and expect them to come in and all have a chance to play,” Rice stated.
Before Jones can begin to think further about her college plans, which as of now include basketball and most likely elementary education, she still has her final season as a Lady Mustang to finish up.
“We’ve got our goals set high,” Jones commented. “We plan on doing well in the district and hopefully will go on to regions.”
Walker Valley is currently 12-8 overall and 6-3 in District 5-AAA playing, tying them for second place in the league race with two weeks to go until the tournament.
Local games rescheduled
Due to Tuesday’s inclement weather, all of the local basketball games were cancelled.
Walker Valley at Soddy-Daisy has been rescheduled for Monday evening, with the girls’ tipping off at 6.
The Cleveland at East Hamilton and Bradley at Ooltewah District 5-AAA games have yet to be rescheduled.