Photo/James Pugh

How the day began is how the day ended. 

West Jones remains the only unbeaten basketball team in the area. The Lady Mustangs stomped all over in-county rival Northeast Jones 76-44 Saturday afternoon in the final day of the Bay Springs Holiday Basketball Tournament. They improve to 15-0 on the season, just ahead of its Region 5-5A opener versus South Jones set for Jan. 4th. 

“It’s a good thing to be undefeated,” said West Jones head coach Sharon Murray. “On the other side, you could be winless, so it’s a blessing. But we focus on playing our kind of ball and let things be as they may. Being undefeated can put a lot of pressure on you, so we do what we do and try not to be caught up with undefeated talk.”

Mounting an early 22-8 lead after a full eight minutes of play, the Lady Mustangs never looked back. They continued to outscore Northeast Jones in the remaining three quarters to pull out the lopsided victory. 

“I’m proud of the way our girls kept the game where it was,” said Murray. “We try to keep everyone involved this time of the year to build confidence. I’m glad our girls kept the game where it was at so we could play a lot of players.”

As their overall stats indicate, all three players in double-digit averages heading into the contest scored in double-digits Saturday afternoon. Brikayla Gray led West Jones with 24 points, while Jurnee McLaurin finished with 21 and Bre Carr with 10. 

“That helps us a lot,” said Murray. “We always need them all to contribute so we won’t be easy to defend. I hope those three continue to do what they do and polish up as we go along.”

Senior guard Gabby Bunch led Northeast Jones with 21 points. 

Heading into region play, Murray says team chemistry is essential.

“I feel like we’ve gotten better,” said Murray. “I’ve seen a lot of improvement. Our team seems to be gelling well. But then again, you don’t know until you get through that first district game to see what you’re like.

“Like I tell my girls, [these region games coming up] are rivalry games, and teams aren’t going to lay down. It’s going to be tough, but I’m looking forward to it and see how we’ll compete.”