Gig Harbor High senior Avery Jones admits when he was younger, he was a little soft. Playing basketball as a kid, he shied away from contact.
“I just camped behind the 3 (-point) line and launched threes,” Jones said, with a laugh.
Those days of being soft are over for Jones, who is the most versatile player on the Tides basketball team this season. At 6-foot-6, he realized in high school that it might be time to start taking advantage of his size.
“I’m really trying to work on being aggressive and getting to the rack a lot more,” Jones said.
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He did just that in Friday night’s win against Peninsula on the road, attacking the rim and scoring inside, including a one-handed transition jam to cap a 7-0 Gig Harbor run to open the second half. But make no mistake: He still enjoys the outside jumper, too. Jones made three 3-pointers in the second half against the Seahawks, who had no answers for his production.
“We definitely have looks for him in different spots, depending on how the game’s going and where we’re trying to get him the ball,” said Gig Harbor coach Billy Landram. “He did a great job.”
Aside from scoring all over the floor, Jones also played a bit of the point guard role, bringing the ball effectively up the floor against Peninsula’s press.
“He played great,” Landram said. “He did a good job helping break the press, he attacked, he made shots. Just his aggressiveness really stood out to me.”
Landram almost didn’t have Jones at his disposal this season. Jones, who is a Washington State baseball signee, almost didn’t come out for the team this year, planning to focus on getting ready for college baseball. But talking with his friends, he didn’t want to let them down, and decided to suit up for one final run with his senior teammates.
“I’m glad I made this decision,” said Jones.
So too, is Landram. And so too are the Tides, who find themselves 3-1 in the Class 3A South Sound Conference heading into the winter break.