PREP BASKETBALL: ‘True joy is found in the Lord’: Phoebe Jones recaps junior season at Holly Pond, talks move to Cullman Christian

Cullman Christian’s Phoebe Jones. (Bill Piper/The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – In this interview, I talked to Phoebe Jones about her junior season with the Holly Pond Lady Broncos as well as her recent move to Cullman Christian.

“We had a really good season. The team had a strong connection, and we grew a lot as the season went on. I had to learn that it’s okay to step out of your comfort zone, because I played some positions I was not used to playing,” Jones said. “They were great teammates. I had so much fun with the practices, games, and tournaments, getting closer and growing as a team. One girl I loved playing with was our only senior, Aliyah Ryan. She was a great leader and an even better friend. She always knew how to lift others up and her strengths to our team. Getting to play volleyball with her these past few years were amazing. We grew close and bonded over things outside of volleyball. I learned the girls’ strengths and weaknesses, how to lift others up, and encourage them.”

She loved playing for coach Adrien Adams and learned so much from her. She saw so much improvement from her game throughout her time at Holly Pond and will continue to work on her game as she gets ready for this upcoming season at Cullman Christian.

“Coach Adams was a good coach to our team. She taught me patience and also, the importance of putting God first in all situations. That is something I will always take with me,” Jones said. “I think I improved a lot as the years went on, as well as our team. I learned how to play different positions on the court and also learned how to have a positive attitude through any situation. I will continue to work on the little things. Work on volleyball, even when we’re not practicing. Something important to me that I also want to improve on is how my teammates will see me. I want to grow my relationship with Christ, so that my teammates see Christ through me. That in any situation, whether we win or lose, or we are having a bad day, in the end, that’s not what matters. It’s trusting in Christ and striving to be more like Him every day.”

She talked about her individual goals, and she also wished her former Bronco teammates the very best of luck this upcoming season.

“I want to work harder and get better. I want to work on not only volleyball skills, but also on building muscle and my speed. I hope that Holly Pond has a great season and makes it far. This team has talent and a strong love for the game. I wish the best for these girls and the team.”

It was a very successful season for the JV and varsity teams for the Lady Broncos as the JV won the county championship and the varsity made it to the Sweet 16. Phoebe talked about that experience and what she learned. She played with an amazing group of girls and learned so much from her coaches.

“Basketball was a lot of fun. Last season on JV went really well for us. We won county and I was on the All-Tournament team. After JV season ended, I got moved up to varsity, where we were the area runners-up and made it to the Sweet 16. Through all this, I learned to always encourage and do your best. With a team like ours, we were all close and encouraging each other, especially when we were down. That’s when we did our best,” she said. “Playing with these girls, I feel like, made me become a better leader. Being one of the oldest girls on the team, I had to learn to take control during games and help encourage my team. These girls also always encouraged me. When I got down, they always supported me and helped me become a better person.”

She added,

“Coach Daugherty was a great coach. We had a good connection, and she is definitely one I look up to on and off the court. She taught me more than to love basketball, but to love God first. Along with her, I was also coached by coach Hartline and coach McKelvy. These three always pushed me. They knew the things I could do and when I wasn’t pushing myself, they pushed me. They all love their job, and they taught me that you are always capable of being able to do more.”

Phoebe got to play with three great seniors last year and saw a tremendous amount of improvement in her game.

“Maddi Ham is a great basketball player and she taught me that I need to put work in, even when no one is looking. There is always room for improvement. She always encouraged us and pushed us as a team. Along with her being great on the court, off the court, she was an amazing friend. She always made you laugh and is someone you can always go to. Along with her is Samantha Giles. Sam always hustled. She always tried her best and she taught me to do the same. In practice, she always pushed us in drills to do better. We became close and I’m glad for our friendship that we made. Bai Widner was also a great player. She always encouraged us and was always one to talk up and lead our team.”

She added,

“I saw a bunch of improvement in myself. I only started playing in seventh grade and my skill level, along with the way I knew the game, were years behind some of the girls I was competing against. I knew I had a lot of work to do, but I knew I could do it. To improve, I worked with my brother, Caleb. He was always willing to work with me and Abbey and always pushed us hard. Another thing that helped me improve was playing travel basketball. I started playing for the Rim Rockers a few years ago, and my coaches, Luke Yarbrough, Caleb White, and Jarrod Oliver, helped me not only improve my ball-handling skills, but also how to play the game. They weren’t afraid to yell at me when I was doing bad, but then coach me on what I can do to get better.”

Phoebe will continue to work on her game as she prepares for this upcoming season, and she talked about her individual goals. She wished her former Holly Pond teammates the very best of luck this upcoming season.

“I will continue to work on getting stronger and my speed, handling the ball under pressure, and being a consistent shooter,” she said. “Individually, I want to work every day on ball-handling and shooting drills and try to improve the best I can to help my team for next season. I hope that Holly Pond has the best season. I hope they all work together as a team, communicate, and have leadership.”

She has several role models that she looks up to.

“My role models would be my brothers, Jacob and Caleb Jones. They both played sports in high school and Jacob also played in college. They were both really good in high school and I know I can always go to them for help. They taught me to never give up and push through. Caleb is always willing to train with me and always tells me that in order to get better, I have to work outside of practices. They both always find ways to help me and tell me what I could fix from the game I just played. Without them, I would not be the person that I am today. Another person that is always with me is my twin sister, Abbey. We have a connection that no one else has. We work well together. Coach Daugherty will also be a role model of mine. She was a great player in high school and a great coach to me. She was always willing to listen and help me. Aside from basketball, she is also a Godly woman that taught me more about Christ and is always someone I can go to.”

She talked about the best advice that someone ever gave her, what all she will bring with her to Cullman Christian, her thoughts on the school, what all she will take away from being a Bronco, and what she learned about being at Holly Pond that will help her at Cullman Christian.

“The best advice I was ever given was that sports are going to come to an end. All that matters is your relationship with Christ. True joy is found in the Lord,” she said. “Cullman Christian is a great school. I can’t wait for the school year to start and see what my senior year has to bring. I hope to be a role model and leader to those younger than me. Mr. Yearwood is great and is doing great things with the school. The school focuses not only on academic growth, but also on spiritual growth.”

She added,

“I hope to always remember the friendships I have and all the memories I have made being at Holly Pond since kindergarten. I learned how to treat others and it takes hard work to succeed. I will take these things with me to Cullman Christian.”

Copyright 2023 Humble Roots, LLC. All Rights Reserved.