By Jeff Robison
— Amber Jones, the last remaining player from the Ben Davis Giants girls’ basketball national championship season of 2009-10, took a final bow on her high school playing career Sunday as a participant in the 2013 Hoosier Basketball Magazine Senior Girls Top 60 Workout at Marian University.
Jones was selected for her spot at the Top 60 Workout from among about 1,500 senior players statewide. The Top 60 Workout also served as an opportunity for the 2013 Indiana All Star coaching staff to view the state’s senior top players in a single venue as the selection announcement for this year’s team nears.
Players participated in a series of drills under the watch of coordinator Rick Risinger, coach at Heritage Christian. The latter half of the day was dedicated to scrimmage play, with players in each of two sessions split into four squads for live competition.
Jones played on a unit with high school rivals Stephanie Mavunga of Brownsburg and J.J. Williams of Carmel. The other players on her “Red Raiders” team were Jessica Pongonis of Hamilton Southeastern, Kelsey Key of Frankton, Darien Thompson of Anderson, Tierra Huntsman of Connersville, and Lauren DeSutter of Tri-West.
“There was a lot of competition, and there were a lot of girls that I hadn’t seen before,” Jones said. “I learned that I need to attack more, and it was an adjustment playing with different people.”
As for playing alongside Mavunga, one of the favorites for 2013 Indiana Miss Basketball, Jones liked that change.
“It was better to play with (Mavunga),” Jones said. “She’s a post player and is big. It was better being on her team instead of having to guard her.”
Ben Davis coach Joe Lentz proudly watched Jones from the bleachers.
“Amber’s impact on our program will be felt for the next couple of years.” Lentz said. “What a great impact she had, especially over the last two years. She has the kind of personality where she’s a leader, and she helped our young kids along with saying ‘this is the way we do things here.’”
Jones didn’t have the flashiest of statistics during her senior year, 11 ppg and just over six rpg. But her selection was based on her all around skills, including her adapting to a new position in handling the point guard spot at times this season.
“Her role changed quite a bit because we were so inexperienced at guard,” Lentz said. “In order to be competitive early, we had to play her at point, which was out of position, to say the least. But it helped her. The ball handling skills that she picked up really helped her as an all around player.”
While Sunday closed out the high school career for Jones, she plans to continue with basketball in college.
“I’m ready for the next level,” Jones said. “I’m proud of the four years that I had here (at Ben Davis).”
Jones listed Danville Area Community, Marian University, Salem International, and Lincoln Trail as schools she is considering.