Jones enjoying strong senior season for Coyotes

REED CITY — Kelsey Jones is entering her final weeks wearing a Reed City basketball uniform.

That will be one concern opposing coaches won’t have to focus on in future seasons.

Jones scored 12 points in the Coyotes 46-32 win over White Cloud on Tuesday, Feb. 22.

“We played together as a team,” Jones said. “We always play better when we’re unified. We just kept our heads and knew what we had to run. We didn’t come out as ready as we’d want to be. The second half, we came out a lot better.”

The Coyotes avenged a loss to the Indians from earlier in the season.

White Cloud coach Jana Dakin said her team beat Reed City earlier this season “with the same game plan, to shut down Jones. We know she’s a tough player.”

One of Jones’ best games was 25 points at Clare in a 47-42 overtime loss earlier this month. Clare is currently 20-0 and Jack Pine Conference champions. But Jones and Reed City gave the undefeated Pioneers their biggest scare of the season.

“They had a super player, their center (Jones), who wound up with 25 points,” said Clare coach Scott Chaffee. “Down the stretch, we had to play her tough.

“I’ve been pleased with her this year,” said Reed City coach Brian Koopman. “She’s been a lot more consistent than last year. If she can start well and (make) some shots, we’re off to a pretty good start.”

The team has improved significantly throughout the season, Jones indicated.

“We know where each other is going to be and we know where each other’s strengths and weaknesses are ,” she said. “We are playing very well as a team.”

It’s Jones’ third and final varsity basketball season.

“Some days are better than others,” she said. “Games come and games go.

“My sophomore year, I didn’t have as much of a role. As the years go by, it’s more important. Last year I was kind of like a co-captain. This year, I’m a captain so I feel I have more responsibility for the team and the girls.”

Jones, a 6-foot center, said her height has helped her with her rebounding. Her mother Martha and father Bruce, both played college basketball at Grand Valley State. A week ago against Chippewa Hills, Kelsey wore her dad’s uniform from the 1980 Reed City boys Class C state championship team.

In Tuesday’s game, Jones had to leave the action for a few minutes to relieve a sore back. It’s a factor that’s flared up a few times since volleyball season.

“I have to be a little more careful with it in contact sports,” she said. “It usually doesn’t really hurt. I can’t ever think of it if I’m hurt or anything like that. If I do get hit and it hurts, I can feel it.”

The Coyotes, 13-7 overall, play in the Class B districts Wednesday at Newaygo against either Newaygo or Shelby.

“We need to come out as hard as we can and be ready from the start,” Jones said. “I think we have a good shot. We have to know what we’re capable of and go out and do it.”

Jones, who has committed to the Eastern Michigan University volleyball program, said she’s looking at AAU volleyball in the spring.

“I got my workout schedule from my coach at Eastern and will work on that a lot and focus on school too,” she said.