PHS' Smith, WCHS' Jones ink with BRCC

White Castle's Erica Jones and Plaquemine's Amber Smith battle for a loose ball in the Iberville Parish Jamboree. Jones and Smith both signed basketball scholarships to BRCC last week. 
POST SOUTH PHOTO/Peter Silas Pasqua

Plaquemine High School's Amber Smith and White Castle High School's Erica Jones signed basketball scholarships to Baton Rouge Community College last week.

BRCC is an open admission, two-year post-secondary public community college in Baton Rouge. The Bears compete in NJCAA Division I athletics and coached by Paula Lee.

"It is an opportunity not only for us to expose them to BRCC but to expose BRCC to the surrounding community and let them know there are opportunities to come and be a student here as well as a student athlete," Lee said.

"Amber has a lot of different components she brings to the game and I could see this kid has got a lot of potential. We always need a power forward to come in and dominate on the boards and that is what I am looking for Erica to come in and do."

The Lady Green Devils, under coach Brannon Dillon, advanced to the postseason in two out of Smith's four years in the program. Plaquemine finished this season 10-17 and 6-6 in District 6-4A play.

"They are going to get a versatile player with heart," Dillon said. "A player that can do a little bit of everything including creating her own shot and driving to the goal. Everything went through her this year.

"It is a great opportunity and will be the first time in years that she can specialize in one sport. Her parents came to every game and now they can continue to watch her."

The Lady Bulldogs, under coach Tammy Washington-Pierce, advanced to the postseason in each of Jones' four years in the program. White Castle finished this season 16-15 overall and 6-4 in District 9-1A play.

"This is something she fought for and wanted from Day 1," Pierce said. "She generated a lot for us and reminded me of former players that you had to truthfully guard inside and outside. We tried to get everything going through her.

"I think she is going to be ready. She is a little undersized but her strength, power and determination will get her through."

Smith earned first-team all-district this season after averaging 20 points, seven rebounds, 4.1 steals and 3.4 assists per game. She expects to play shooting guard at the next level.

"Scoring is what I bring to the table the most," Smith said. "I started playing basketball around the neighborhood and it is just something that has stayed with me.

"We have some pretty big shoes to fill but it is pretty exciting to play with someone from the area like Erica."

Jones earned first-team all-district this season after averaging 19.1 points and 10 rebounds per game. She will play power forward at the next level.

"I may not be that tall but I can really box out well and overpower a lot of people," Jones said. "My strength gets me where I need to be. I can score the ball and go get it.

"It really means a lot. Basketball takes my mind off of other things and keeps me going in school. I am excited to play with Amber because we are like neighbors."