CEDAR RAPIDS — Xavier sophomore Aubrey Jones has had a lot of changes in her life this year.
Jones moved to Iowa from Texas when her mother was hired as the new principal at St. Joseph’s Elementary School.
This move, however, did not prevent Jones from doing what she loves — playing basketball.
“She’s athletic, quick and is aggressive,” Xavier girls’ basketball coach Tom Lilly said.
Lilly saw Jones’ biggest challenge as adapting to Xavier’s basketball program, which is run differently from what Jones was used to in Texas.
“The understanding of how to perform in our system,” Lilly said. “The more you learn at once, the slower you become. That’s why she’s better at defense than offense right now.”
Not only is Jones adjusting to the new program, but playing on a varsity team, as well. During her last season for the Taft Raiders in Texas she started on the junior varsity team.
“I was on JV in the beginning of the season and got moved to varsity after a few games,” Jones said.
Lilly thinks Jones can bring a number of things to his varsity team, including her long arms and a nose for the ball.
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As for filling in the gaps of the previous seniors, Lilly’s strategy is to start with the two people who played the most in regards to starting last year. He also is looking for previous JV players who have shown improvement to move into the empty varsity spots.
“Libby (Arnold) was a JV player and she’s really showed marked improvement,” Lilly said. “So really, what we are looking for are people to replace those guys.
“When you have players that can come off the bench and take those minutes and spell those kids without a lot of drop off, that’s really what basketball is all about. It’s your depth that dictates your team.”
Arnold is second on the team, averaging 9.4 points per game. Jones is adding just 1.7 points per game, but has 12 steals and give assists.
Xavier (6-3) hosts Kennedy tonight in a girl-boy doubleheader, starting at 6 p.m.