South's Jones helps Kentucky stars to sweep

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By Mickey Patterson

LOUISVILLE – Without realizing it, Lauren Jones gave her mom the best birthday present ever.Jones, a South Oldham High School senior, is a member of the Kentucky All-Stars that completed a rare sweep of Indiana Sunday at Louisville Gardens.“My mom said it was the best birthday present she could ask for, which I really didn’t think it was that big of a deal,” Jones said. “But it shows how much it meant to my family and that’s really cool.”Jones, a 5-foot-9 guard, and the Kentucky team decimated Indiana Sunday with a 101-62 win – setting a record for the largest victory margin by either team since the series began in 1976. Kentucky jumped out with a 21-2 lead on Indiana and never looked back before the home crowd.“It was incredible,” Jones said. “We just jumped on them really quick and I guess Indiana really didn’t know what hit them.”Kentucky beat Indiana 76-59 Friday at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.“It was just really exciting to be a part of it,” Jones said. “We wanted to come out and play well and show people how good we were and I think we more than did that.”In both wins, Kentucky’s much-smaller team used their athleticism and speed on defense to disrupt Indiana’soffense and leave the Hoosiers behind with their ability to get down the floor on offense.“Overall we were just a lot quicker,” Jones said. “Even though they were bigger and taller, we were a lot faster, espeically on defense.”Jones played 17 minutes in the win Sunday, hitting three of four from the floor including her only three-point attempt to finish with seven points. She also had three rebounds and an assist.In Friday’swin, Jones played 10 minutes hitting three of six from the floor to finish with six points.“I thought I played well,” Jones said. “I contributed in both games and we won, which is just what I wanted to do.”Jones played with the highly-touted Louisville trio of Monique Reid of Fern Creek, Tia Gibbs of Butler and Ciera Ricketts of Fairdale – all ranked in the nation’s top 50 players.“It’s an unforgettable experience,” Jones said. “Playing with all those great players that I had played against of saw playing was so much fun.“Some people said playing with the all-stars there would be a lot of bickering and some people who would come out thinking they had to be the big start, but we didn’t have that. There were so many good quality players that everybody just had fun playing.”Jones also got a chance to play all-star coach Sally Zimmerman, the head coach at Shelby County – a heated regional rival of SOHS.“She was really great,” Jones said. “I have always been on the opposite end of her coaching hearing her yell and coach her players, but it was really nice to get to play for her and get to know her.”Jones, who has signed to play at Austin Peay University, is spending her summer working out and working at the Basketball Academy as an instructor before reporting to school Aug. 21. The all-star experience will prepare her for her collegiate career, she said.“It was kind of completely different from what I expected because I have never been on a team with so many great players,” Jones said. “It was a lot of fun and competitive and it made me better.”

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