SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — When Jasmine Jones transferred to Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.) from West (Torrance) before last season, she was looking for a way to fit in with the nationally ranked Jackrabbits.
Taking a lot of shots was probably not the way to make friends, so Jones, a 6-foot senior guard, concentrated on hustle plays: putbacks, assists and solid defense. That was the side of her game that showed Friday night as she led No. 15 Poly to a 63-46 defeat of Bishop Feehan (Attleboro, Mass.) at the Spalding Hoophall Classic.
“I transferred for my junior year, so I had to sit out 30 days because of the transfer,” Jones said. “It was a bit of a transition going in because of the way Poly plays defensively. I just tried to do my part and give my teammates the ball.”
Jones, who was one of three McDonald’s All-American Game nominees from Poly earlier this week, had 10 points, eight rebounds and six assists on Friday. The McDonald’s rosters will be announced Sunday.
“That’s why she doesn’t come out of the game,” said Poly coach Carl Buggs. “Jaz fills the stat sheets. It’s going to be points, rebounds, assists. She also does a lot of the plays that don’t make it in the paper, but other players notice.”
Center Ayanna Clark, who is headed to Southern Cal, and guard Danae Miller (UC-Santa Barbara) also are McDonald’s nominees.
Jones has signed with Loyola Marymount, but she’s already getting used to college-type travel with Poly.
The Jackrabbits have played only two games in Long Beach this season, both of those coming earlier this week in league play. The rest of the games have been in Honolulu, Phoenix, Washington, D.C., and now Springfield, Mass.
“We’ve traveled a lot this year,” Jones said. “Being on the road a lot, you can get jetlag. You have to get a lot of rest to play teams from other states.”
The Jackrabbits led by 14 points in the first quarter, but the Shamrocks, led by solid defense and the shooting of Katherine Nelson and Marissa Fontaine, cut the lead to six points just before the half. Jones opened it back up with several inside shots, and just before the start of the fourth quarter, Aiyana Barnes hit a short jumper in the lane to put Poly up 52-39 going into the final period.
“We were giving them hope,” Buggs said. “I was disappointed we couldn’t finish more shots to get more ahead. Barnes’ shot was huge because she came in cold. For her to hit that shot at that time was big. She’s been beating herself up a bit because she’s been missing shots.”
Bishop Feenan is a defending state champion and suffered its first loss of the season.
“The difference in the game was they constantly were pressuring us,” Shamrocks coach Michael Deahy said. “They’re just a very difficult team to press and trap. They’re tall, athletic — they’re just an outstanding basketball team. I thought the difference was they kept constant pressure on us and we just couldn’t get in an offensive rhythm.”