Southern's Jones signs with Elizabeth City State

Jul. 31, 2014 @ 10:26 PM

Fall sports practice begins today for Tri-County schools, but Southern Vance still had some business to tend to from the 2013-2014 seasons on Thursday as Breona Jones signed to play basketball at Elizabeth City State University.

Jones became the ninth Southern athlete from the Class of 2014 to celebrate signing.

“I know it’s not my last goal,” said Jones, all-conference in each of her four varsity seasons, “but it’s one of the goals that I set. I made it.”

Jones seemed to make every team she’s been part of better, winning championships in rec league, middle school and at Southern.

The dynamic point guard finished with 1,479 career points, eclipsing 1,000 as a junior and helping lead the Raiders to an unbeaten 2-A Northern Carolina Conference season as a senior.

“She’s a game changer,” said Southern head coach Amy Simpson. “She helps the team whether breaking presses or just running the offense or starting the fast break.”

Southern increased its win total in each of the last four years, starting with 10 Jones’ freshman year before a 22-win campaign her senior season that concluded in the third round of the state playoffs.

Simpson said Jones thrives in the spotlight.

“Just having her out there takes a lot of pressure off,” said Simpson. “She wants to take on the pressure. She wants to be the one to accept the challenge.”

The next challenge will be adapting to play in the Division II Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association and adjusting to playing without familiar guidance nearby.

“I’m just going to miss playing on this court,” Jones said standing just outside of Raider Gymnasium. “Simpson and my teammates pushed me so hard during the season. They’ve done nothing but help me and I’m going to miss them being there every practice, pushing me.”

Jones plays a high-octane game and says she wants to be quicker than her competition. More often than not, she is.

Her stepfather, William Ealey, expects Jones’ skills to translate well to the college game.

Ealey preached to Jones at an early age that college basketball could be in her future, starting with him watching Jones bounce a beach ball not long before her third birthday.

“I think she has a lot of potential,” said Ealey, “and I’m looking for her to make a name for herself at Elizabeth City State and beyond.”

At Southern, the name has already been made and won’t soon be forgotten. Jones goes down as an all-time Lady Raiders great.

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.