BRISTOL - Towering above everybody on the court, Bristol's Ally Jones can now say she towers above most girls to wear the Bristol Panther uniform.
In the second quarter of Bristol's 55-35 loss to Pymatuning Valley Thursday night, the senior center received a pass from Elexis Blake and banked in a shot from the paint to become the fourth Panther to record 1,000 points in her career.
The crowd, holding signs for her in anticipation from the start, exploded and cheered.
Tribune Chronicle / Dave Dermer
Bristol’s Ally Jones (30) muscles her way to the basket around Pymatuning Valley’s Kelsea Brown. Jones scored her 1,000th career point on Thursday.
"I've worked hard these four years, and it was great to get it with such a great crowd because everyone that I love and care about was here," Jones said. "I have a great support system at home and with my friends. For them to all be here supporting me and cheering me on throughout the four years was an amazing experience."
Her teammates also celebrated her achievement, with each player hugging Jones. She said this record meant as much to them as it did to her.
"Our team is a family," Jones said. "We do everything together, and I wouldn't have gotten here if it wasn't for them. They know that, and they know how appreciative I am of them. I don't take full credit for it - I give them a lot of the credit because without them, I wouldn't have been able to do it."
Outside of this brief moment, the Panthers (8-4, 3-3 Northeastern Athletic Conference, East Division) had little to celebrate.
After a close first quarter, the Lakers (8-2) dominated the Panthers, using traps and high-pressure defense to force Bristol into a plethora of mistakes that PV then turned into quick baskets. The Panthers committed 28 turnovers in the game, with the bulk coming in the first three quarters.
PV coach Jeff Compan said he knew Bristol played the night before and wanted to put the Panthers in the red zone early.
"We have very good defensive players, so we wanted to get up and push the tempo today, especially because (Bristol) played a game last night," Compan said. "We thought that if we could have pushed the pace in the early going, we might take their legs out from them a little bit. I thought we had the pace right where we wanted it."
Jones said she and her teammates hadn't seen such a defense yet this season.
"This is probably one of the most high-pressure games we've played (in)," Jones said. "We just got to work on taking care of the ball a little bit more."
Along with the high-tempo style, the Lakers tried to open up the lane by bringing Jones away from the basket, allowing players to get around the 6-foot-2 center and drive to the basket.
No player took advantage more than Kelsea Brown. The sophomore forward dropped 24 points, 18 of which came from in the paint, and grabbed 12 rebounds, seven of which came on the offensive glass.
"Kelsea's probably one of our most athletic players, and she probably played the best game of her career tonight," Compan said. "Defensively, she got her hands on a lot of balls. We were happy with our effort today, and the way Kelsea played made things a lot easier."
The loss dampered Jones' accomplish a bit, but junior varsity coach Russ Mollinatto, who gave Jones the game ball because he's known her since eighth grade, said it shouldn't sour the achievement.
"She has that in the back of her mind - that she has reached that mark, and it's a great accomplishment," Mollinatto said. "The (loss) does dampen it some, but it doesn't take away from the accomplishment as an individual player."