Athlete of the Week: Omaha Central’s Inia Jones

6 News WOWT Live at 6:30
Published: Dec. 29, 2022 at 10:00 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Everything was clicking for guard Inia Jones when the Eagles hosted Millard South last week. Despite the six-point loss, Jones shot her way into the record books. The junior recorded 43 points against the Patriots, breaking a single-game school record.

”I realized we were down early, so I was like ‘we got to change it ASAP,’” said Jones. “I just started playing and after the game coach said ‘you had 40 points.’ And I said ‘wow.’”

”Inia just took over to be blunt with you. It wasn’t great coaching. It wasn’t great strategy. It was Inia took the ball and she scored,” said Omaha Central girls basketball head coach Michael Kroupa.

Jones hasn’t always dominated the hardwood. In fourth grade, Jones was cut from the boys basketball team. Seven years later, that moment continues to motivate her.

”Coach Mitch picked me up the next year, played with the boys. Then I’ve been going ever since. When he passed, that was just fuel to the fire,” said Jones.

”She’s tough. Even when we do drills and I get the pads out, she hits me pretty good. So you can tell she has some older brothers that kind of, probably roughed her up a little bit, you know, like older brothers do,” said Kroupa.

Years of hard work are finally paying off for the three-year starter as Jones helps lead a young Eagles squad.

“She puts extra time in the gym. She always has ideas for basketball. She’s always thinking basketball. Yes, she’s a very naturally athletic young lady who’s extremely strong, but she’s also earned that too,” said Kroupa.

”It’s becoming more natural to me. I’ve been working for years now,” said Jones. “Just to have this opportunity and be able to have it for three years is big to me. I never take it for granted. I just keep going and play in the moment.”