The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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February 6, 2014

Ron Jones family centers around basketball

The Ron Jones family centers around basketball.

And it has for many years.

Among Ron and daughters Shakara and Sharese “Winkie” Jones, they have combined to score 8,312 points during their high school and college careers. That number will continue to grow as Sharese is completing her sophomore season at Missouri Southern.

“They influence me a lot,” said Sharese, who’s averaged 14.3 points and 6.7 rebounds this season and is the only player to start every game for the 14-5 Lions. “I look up to my sister big time. I’ve always tried to compete against her, try to beat her out of stuff.

“My dad, I would always go to him, too. But I’m a better shooter than he was. I would say so.”

Anita Jones, the wife and mother, never played basketball.

“I never played it at all and was never interested in playing,” she said. “I’ve always been a spectator, spectator/cheerleader I guess you could say.

“Dating Ron, I was always around basketball, but I didn’t know our two kids would play, too. It’s been fun.”

Anita was a cheerleader at Cape Girardeau Central High School. She first met Ron when they were in kindergarten.

“Some people say we started dating in kindergarten,” she said with a laugh.

Ron, a 1980 graduate of Cape Girardeau Central, still holds school records for points in a game (48) and career (1,556). He led the Tigers to the 1980 Class 4A state championship and went on to play on three Big 8 Conference championship teams at Missouri.

He also had the opportunity — or challenge — of guarding Michael Jordan three times. In the first meeting the Tigers beat North Carolina 64-60 on Nov. 27, 1982, at the Checkerdome in St. Louis. Jordan scored 13 points that night, and there is a 27-second clip on YouTube about that game that labels Jones as a “defensive specialist.”

North Carolina won the next two meetings — 73-58 in the championship game of the 1982 Rainbow Classic and 64-57 in the 1983-84 season opener in Chapel Hill. Jordan scored 19 points in Hawaii and 13 points again at North Carolina.

“Michael took it personal after that first game, but I did get him one time though,” Ron said. “I had a lot of help from my teammates, and I was calling for a lot of help.”

Shakara scored a school-record 2,439 points at Francis Howell Central High School and won the Miss Show-Me Basketball Award in 2007. She becane a four-year starter at Missouri, choosing the Tigers over Tennessee.

Sharese scored 1,910 points at Francis Howell Central, and she’s moved into the Lions’ starting lineup this season after being a part-time starter last year.

The sisters’ basketball careers had one common thread. Both could hear their father’s voice without much difficulty.

“Always. I can always hear him,” Sharese said. “That deep distinctive voice, I can hear him every time. He’ll say something like ‘be aggressive, stay down on ‘D,’ don’t foul.’ There’s something about it that I can always hear him.”

“I always could, from the bench and from the stands,” Shakara said. “He never forced us to play basketball. He let us make our own decision. He’s always been supportive. He’s never been one of those fathers who got on us too bad about what we did wrong and what we did right. He’s always stayed encouraging.”

“I’ve had the opportunity to coach both of them ever since they were practically born,” Ron said. “It’s been a lot of fun watching them, but it is hard sitting in the stands.

“I helped give them pointers. When ‘Shak’ was playing at Mizzou, I could see things that she couldn’t see. ... Same thing with Winkie, I could see things the defender was doing to her and tell her after the game. Both of them still followed what their coaches said.”

Sharese got her nickname before she was a year old.

“When she was a baby, Dad used to wink at her,” Shakara said. “And instead of winking with one eye, she used to blink like crazy. He said I’m going to nickname her Winkie, and it’s been Winkie ever since.

“She was about 8 months old. That was their thing — he’d wink and she’d try. Maybe we should have nicknamed her ‘Blinkie.’ ”

There’s another number associated with the Jones family that is much larger than the points scored. Check the odometer on the family vehicle.

Ron, Anita and Sharese attended about 90 percent of Shakara’s games when she played at Missouri. They did not make the trips into Texas for the Big 12 Conference games.

“Poor Winkie was doing homework in the car with the light on,” Ron said. “But they didn’t want to miss the game. We’re a very close-knit family. A couple of times I told my wife and Winkie the weather is bad ... maybe I can run up there. They looked at me like I was crazy. They were going, too.”

Now Ron and Anita travel around the MIAA to Sharese’s games from their home in St. Charles, wearing their “Roar Winkie Roar” T-shirts. Shakara came along, too, until last month when she resumed her professional career in Germany.

“The first vehicle we had, it had over 235,000 miles on it when I finally got rid of it,” Ron said. “The vehicle we have now is already to up 135,000. We try to make every game.”

“It’s a special group of people,” Lions coach Ronda Hubbard said. “They travel everywhere for Winkie. They are her biggest supporters and biggest supporters of the team as a whole. It doesn’t make a difference whether Winkie plays well or doesn’t, it’s all about the team. You always like to have special people like that supporting your effort and what the team is trying to accomplish.”

8,312 points and counting

The high school and college points totals for Ron Jones and daughters Shakara and Sharese:

Ron Jones

Cape Girardeau Central HS (1977-80)                        1,556

University of Missouri (1980-84)                                     759

Total                                                                             2,315

Shakara Jones

Francis Howell Central HS (2003-07)                          2,439

University of Missouri (2007-11)                                  1,210

Total                                                                             3,649

Sharese Jones

Francis Howell Central HS (2008-12)                           1,910

Missouri Southern (2012-present)                                    438

Total                                                                                2,348

Family Total                                                                    8,312

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