Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

February 4, 2013

Micah Jones hits 2K, preps for playoffs

Ryan Czachorski
Effingham Daily News

COWDEN — For the all scoring CHBC senior Micah Jones has done in her career, her biggest point came down to one of the few flaws in her game.

Jones headed to the free-throw line near the end of the Hornets' win Tuesday night, stuck on 1,999 points in her career.

Even with the game being all but over and knowing she would get the milestone at some point, Jones said she still felt the weight of the moment.

"A lot of pressure because it was a free throw, and they're not my greatest. I was like "Oh great, it had to be a free throw."

She hit one of two, and ended Tuesday's game with exactly 2,000 points.

Jones is the all-time leading in points scored in a career for the Cowden-Herrick/Beecher City Hornets, and trails just Kendra Thompson for the Cowden-Herrick school record. Thompson scored 2,083 points in 61 games between 1980 and 1984.

She scored 30 points Friday night to climb to 2,030 points for her career.

The Hornets have at least two games left: Saturday at  Dieterich and at least one game in the regional tournament.

Jones is averaging 24.3 points per game, giving her a good chance of passing Thompson, especially if they make a playoff run.

While the Illinois High School Association database does not extend all the way down to 2,000 points, looking at the list of the top 50 scorers, it's clear Jones has been one of the most prolific scorers in Illinois' high school girls basketball's history.

The top 50 list from the IHSA ends at 2,311 points, but Jones is within striking distance of that mark, and the number of players to top 2,000 is very small in the relative history of the game.

Jones appreciates the efforts that's helped her get there.

"I guess it's pretty neat," she said. "The way a lot of the games have gone, how far we'd been, it'd be four or five games (without them). Thanks to them, they helped getting me (there)."

She'll continue her career next year, as she has signed to play at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Head coach Carolyn Wendte has been with the program for 21 years, and completely understands how Jones has had the success she has had.

"I'm ecstatic for her. To have somebody do this, no one is more deserving than her," Wendte said. "Sometimes I don't think she knows what her caliber of play is. I think there's some nights where she shuts down and turns back on, tries to let the other ones around her become better players."

With Jones on the team, the Hornets have flourished, making runs to the state tournament in 2010 and 2012, finishing second last season.

Behind Jones, Ava Paruleski and Autumn Riley, the senior class that first made it to state in 2010 is prepping for one last run at the 1A title.

"I'm trying not to think about it," Jones said. "I feel like it's better than we're all thinking. I don't want to think too far ahead. Baby steps."

The Hornets lost five players from last year's state title team, and Wendte doesn't want her team thinking they're a shoo-in.

After the run to state in 2010, the group had that mentality and it cost them, Wendte said.

"They saw what it was like, they saw what happened, we got a bit of a big head," she said. "We thought everyone was going to fall over and die. It really doesn't matter who the better team is, it matters who shows up."

CHBC's regional run begins Tuesday at South Central, against an opponent that has yet to be determined.