'The Twins' stand tall for Lady Canes
by David Royal
Dec 29, 2013 | 1256 views | 0 0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A casual observer might think he’s seeing double when watching the Cartersville girls basketball team play this season.

That’s because the Lady Purple Hurricanes include twins — Morgan and Maya Jones — and about the biggest visual difference between them is that Morgan is two inches taller, at 5 feet, 10 1/2 inches.

That’s not always noticeable, however, judging by the occasional issue it causes for referees.

Maya Jones said refs occasionally must follow up a whistle with a question to one of them: “‘That was you, right?’”

Both respond with a polite “yes” when appropriate.

Maya Jones said things don’t always work themselves out so neatly, though.

“In one of our games this year, Morgan had four fouls and I had two. It was the fourth quarter and they called the foul on her when it was me,” Maya Jones said. “I was like, ‘No, that was on me.’ She still got taken out because it was her fifth foul.”

Morgan said the call upset her at the time. “I cried,” she said. “It was a few tears. I wasn’t mad at the refs. I was mad at myself that I actually got that many fouls.”

Morgan said that reaction didn’t last long because her new role was waiting on the bench. “I was screaming my lungs out cheering,” she said.

Cartersville went on to win the game.

Morgan Jones said she believes as a team captain, it is important that she take adversity in stride and make the best of things. She added she tries to lead by her actions.

Both have had big roles for their team this year and last year. Maya Jones was a starter her junior year while Morgan was the team’s sixth player and also saw a lot of playing time.

Morgan Jones has tallied 275 points since the beginning of last year and 165 rebounds. Maya has 200 points and 198 rebounds.

The two, who have been playing basketball together since they were about 4 years old, have been very involved in the little things that developed and defined them, such as learning their positions and weight training.

Most of those years have somehow involved Cartersville, especially since both of their parents — Ruthie and James Jones — teach in the school system.

The two also have been working out with weights since a young age. That was not all that slight an involvement since their father is the weight training coach at the school as well as one of its football coaches.

Morgan Jones said her dad also coached basketball early in his career and has always shared his understanding of the sports with his twins.

Both also work on their basketball skills a lot.

“I try to be as strong as I can,” Maya Jones said. “I do work out a lot and I have the muscle. Coach [Cindy Moore] tells us to be the player you’d hate to face. I try to be tough so people won’t want to go against me. I do try to block out, rebound and go up strong. I try to be the strongest player for my team to help it more.”

She said things are not always easy to master, though.

“I try to not foul but sometimes my body gets in the way,” Maya Jones said. “I’m learning to move my feet way more to cut more people off instead of bumping them with my body because that is a careless foul. If we’re in foul trouble, then I don’t want my team to be in a conflict because I’m not [doing] my part on defense. I’m trying to work on that.”

Both are very intense.

Morgan said their intensity is higher at some games than others.

“I think it depends on the game. I think [Thursday night] Maya was more aggressive but the Sonoraville game I was,” Morgan Jones said. “It’s a big rivalry. In the locker room I was like shaking because I was so excited. I just came out and I guess I played hard.”

This year that intensity paid off for Cartersville when it defeated Sonoraville in its first region game.

The two often catch the attention of the teams they play before they reach the gym.

“[Usually they call us The Twins,” Morgan Jones said. “We hear that when playing Cass especially. They say they’re going up against The Twins tonight. It’s all over the social media the day of and the day before the game.”

She said another handle is Double Trouble but added none of the names bother her.

“I really don’t care,” Morgan Jones said. “It excites me. It feels good knowing that people are actually intimidated by me. It helps me know I’ve worked hard enough and I go hard enough on the court.”

Both want to help Cartersville win its region this year.

“Last year, after we lost to Sonoraville, I told my teammate Stefanie Will that next year is our year. I told her ‘I promise you we’re going to work hard and this year we’ll win region,’” Morgan Jones said. “We’ve won second place three years in a row and I just want to finish it out leaving the underclassmen something they can aim for. They’re good teammates. They work hard just like we do. I want them to know they can do it, too, if we do it.”

Cindy Moore, their coach, said the two are very important to the program.

“The points lean toward Morgan and the rebounds lean toward Maya, but I can tell you that having two girls that work this hard and hit the boards has helped us as a team,” Moore said. “Obviously they can score but the reason we’ve been successful this year is because we’ve been a good rebounding basketball team. They’re a big reason for that. We go as they go. Many times we can tell you as the games play out and they’re on the bench in foul trouble ... then we play different.”

She said the two fit well in the team.

“When they are able to get the basketball in the lane, good things have happened for us,” she said. “We believe in rewarding hustle and those two will get up and down the floor and outrun the guards sometimes. Everyone knows if you run the floors, Kae [Irby] will get you the basketball.”

She said the two are also important as leaders and that is especially true this year because they want Cartersville to have a successful year to be remembered.

“They want to be region champions,” she said. “Our seniors have worked very hard their whole life to get to this moment and we tell them it’s a special group. You’re not ever going to play with this group of folks again who are as competitive after you graduate. For them to go out region champions would be wonderful for them and great for our program.

“I’m just fortunate as a coach because I have no worries about the locker room as far as team chemistry. A big part of that is because the seniors get along so well and they’ve taken the initiative to bring the freshmen and sophomores along. They want to leave this program in a good position to continue that success.”

She said the two are special because they are not only interchangeable but also can do so many things to help the team.

“Being able to score and being able to rebound, sometimes you get a player who can do one and not both. But they both — and you can tell by their stats — still have a lot of ballgames left to improve on that. When you look at what we have ahead of us, we have to have both of them to finish strong. We are a tremendous basketball team when they are on the floor.”

She said while having twins is different, the two are like many athletes at the high school because of their closeness to the program.

“This is a true Cartersville family here. Their brother came through here. Their parents work here. We’re just reaping the benefits. They’re very humble in that they know it requires hard work to make things happen.”

Emerson Bridges, their position coach, agreed. “We’re blessed here at Cartersville. We’ve got good kids in our program. We try to get across to all our students that we want to leave it better than we found it. We think that when these two young ladies leave, they will be leaving the young people good examples.”

The two have different career goals, however.

Morgan has her sights on being an obstetrician.

“I’m not planning on playing basketball in college, but I wouldn’t mind it at all,” Morgan Jones said. “But I can take scholarships either way, academics or athletic. Once I find out where the most money is I can get, I guess that’s what I’ll choose.”

Maya Jones has her sights on attending Auburn and a different career altogether.

“I want to major in broadcast journalism,” Maya Jones said. “I like to talk a lot and I want to have a job where I can bring people joy through my voice and maybe have my own talk show.”