THORNTOWN, Ind. – While Western Boone’s girls basketball team is practicing Thursday afternoon, a whiteboard sits on the bleachers. In scrawling purple script, a quote from Bob Knight is meant to serve as motivation.
“A quick way for any player to make herself better is to think about what she herself doesn’t like to play against.”
For most of the players on the Stars roster, they don’t have to think hard. They play against that player in practice every day.
There isn’t much that Madison Jones hasn’t done in her high school career. The senior has been the team’s leading scorer every year she’s been in the program. She’s the school’s all-time leading goal scorer in soccer, too. Entering the season, she sat 34 points shy of becoming the basketball program’s all-time leading scorer — so she dropped 49 in her first game against Lafayette Jeff, shattering the previous record and setting a single-game record for points.
Yet she doesn’t act like someone who is the best girls basketball player to set foot in the gym. She’s the first one to the line for every suicide run, the first one down for every push-up, and the most frustrated (other than her coach) when a play breaks down.
Yes, Madison Jones is usually the best player in the gym on any given day. But she wants to keep getting better. She wants her teammates to be better. And she wants to win.
“I always try to push myself farther,” she said. “I can do this better, I can take this offensive player out by taking a quicker step.”
It’s always been this way for Jones. Just ask her mom.
Jones first picked up a basketball when she was 2 or 3 years old, and has hardly put one down since. And she’s always been a step ahead of those around her. She was playing in a game in sixth grade, when she frustratedly asked her dad to call a timeout.
“She pulls out the whiteboard and draws up a play for the girls,” her mom Kristi said. “She says, ‘Can you run this?’ They said yes, and went out and ran the play.”