Jones can do it all


Her classmates and teachers at Seton might know her as “Elena from Student Council,” or “Elena the honors student” or “my friend Elena.”

Girls from her Delaney Athletic Conference basketball rivals are more likely to remember her as “the girl that blocks my shots.”

Elena Jones will help opponents refresh their memories as she leads the top-seeded Conquistadors (13-1 DAC, 18-7 overall) into this week’s conference tournament.

Jones, a well-rounded 16-year-old with well-rounded athletic abilities, might as well play for a team she describes in the same manner.

“I think our team is really well-rounded,” said Jones, whose Seton teammates include Mary Grimberg, Mary Spicer and Lauren Sewell.

The Conquistadors are among the area’s top scoring offenses, and were tied with Hylton for the area’s second-best scoring defense (37.6 points per game) through last Wednesday.

That sort of balance is standard for Jones, who leads Seton in scoring (11.5 points per game) and rebounding (8.5 per game). She’s the team leader in blocked shots with 79 in 23 games, and she also leads in a statistic called defensive tips.

Seton coach Dick Pennefather and team statistician Steve Jones each say the statistic indicates defensive aggressiveness, including everything from passes tipped out-of-bounds to actual blocked shots.

“She dominates defensively,” says Pennefather. He says Jones plays “like a big man” but might also be the team’s fastest player.

Jones enjoys playing defense.

“It’s never really recognized, but I don’t mind,” she says. “I just like playing.”

Jones, whose sisters Lauren and Melanie starred at Seton, says she followed in family footsteps by participating in sports.

“I’m the youngest in my family,” she says. “It’s just something my family’s been doing.”

Jones, who started out playing volleyball at Seton, began playing her other sports in the past few years. Basketball has been a part of her life since she was young.

She is also a three-time DAC softball MVP as a pitcher and infielder and is Seton’s No. 2 tennis player and doubles partner with No. 1 player Mary Spicer.

“I’ll miss the team once I finish this season,” Jones says. “But once I finish, I go right on to another sport, so I don’t have much time to think about it. Plus, I see them all the time in school.”

Jones is also an honors student and the treasurer of Seton’s Student Council.

“I don’t think basketball is the first thing people think of when they see me,” says Jones.

“She’s always somebody that has a smile on her face,” says Pennefather. “She’s such a humble player. She doesn’t look for the limelight.”

But as Seton pursues its postseason basketball goals, they’ll need to play with the same balance Jones exhibits away from basketball.

Jones improved her game to help the Conquistadors replace leading scorer Katy Hadro, who graduated after last season. This year, says Pennefather, Seton lacks a go-to scorer, which can help or hurt them.

“We’ve got three consistent scorers, and some other players who can score,” he said. “But sometimes it has the opposite effect where everyone is looking at someone else to do the job.”

“I hope we go pretty far together,” said Jones, who might attend George Mason or Virginia next year. “We have our ups and downs, even within one game. We’re going to have to play well every quarter [to win].”

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