Christonna Jones couldn’t contain her smile as she sat in her chair behind a fold-out table on the stage of the Clements Teen Center Tuesday night.
The former Ellison Lady Eagle committed to play basketball for coach Tremaine Wright at Division III Schreiner University.
It was fitting that the 5-foot-5 guard held her ceromony at Clements because she has spent thousands of hours on the court practicing, drilling, and perfecting her craft.
“In all honesty I have spent every moment on this I floor with my coaches,” Jones said. “I came before and after school, but since school is out I am doing two-a-days every day.”
Jones’ work ethic stems from her family. She spoke of her parents and grandparents and how their support and words of wisdom helped propel her to the cusp of realizing a life-long dream.
Jones knew what she wanted the first day she played for her Killeen Parks and Recreation youth basketball team. She had no doubt that basketball was her future.
“My family always says that if you want something you have to go after it,” she said. “They pushed me and motivated me to push my self.”
Jones’ father, Opheline Moore, places all credit on his daughter’s slender shoulders.
“We pushed her and her coaches coached, but in the end she did the work,” said Moore, a 16-year Army veteran. “I told her when she was a freshman that she had this potential and all she had to do was work to get there — she did.”
Marlo Saunders, one of her AAU coaches agreed.
“I met her when she was in 8th grade, and I knew then that she had the potential to be great at this sport.”
It was in AAU where coach Wright, then an assistant at Schriener, noticed Jones. According to Jones, Wright recruited her heavily and when he ascended to the vacated head coaching job, he made it clear to Jones that he wanted her on his team more than ever.
“Once he got the head job he started to really push for me to go there,” Jones said. “He was always checking up on me and making sure I was doing well he, showed that he cared.”
He also expressed his desire to get her on the court as soon as possible.
“Coach Wright told me and Cristonna that he expects her to contribute right away,” Saunders said. “If she does, she won’t be overwhelmed.”
Afterall, she’s been preparing for this moment for 10 years.