In the Jones family, basketball is king, and there's constant jockeying for the throne.
For about two weeks every summer, Jarred, a 6-foot-7 forward at Loyola Maryland; Brionna, a 6-3 center at Maryland; Stephanie, a 6-2 forward at Aberdeen who will play for the Terps next season; and Jordon, a 6-6 sophomore forward at Aberdeen, make daily trips to the courts outside Havre de Grace High seeking basketball supremacy.
"Nobody wants to lose," said Jarred Jones, a 22-year-old redshirt junior. "Bri doesn't want to lose at all. Steph will be in a fight before she loses. Jordon is just happy-go-lucky. But nobody wants to lose. At the end of the day, we're like, 'OK, we're going to be out here battling.' And we're all over 6 feet. It's not like there's that big of a difference. So it's very competitive out there."
Added Brionna, a junior who turns 20 on Dec. 18: "Some days it's the boys against the girls, and sometimes it's the older ones against the younger ones. So it just depends on the mood."
Tonight, the siblings will compete, but not against each other. Brionna and the No. 5 Terps (8-0) welcome Loyola (3-5) to Xfinity Center for a 7 p.m. tipoff. Thirty minutes later and 36 miles north, Jarred Jones and the Greyhounds (1-7) host Towson (6-3) at Reitz Arena.
Basketball has been a common thread in the Jones family. Father Michael played in college at Hartford and is now an assistant coach with the Aberdeen girls basketball program. While mother Sanciarhea played volleyball at East Texas State, she had a hand in shaping Brionna's and Stephanie's skills.
Michael Jones said his two eldest children had opposing personalities while growing up.
"Jarred was a daredevil," he said, recalling with a chuckle an oft-told memory of his son racing his bicycle down a hill in their neighborhood and slamming into a fire hydrant while trying to negotiate a sharp curve. "He got into everything, and he tried everything. Bri was laid-back. If you put Bri down, Bri would go somewhere and sit down. She wasn't going to get into too much."
Jarred, who played baseball, football and the trombone, said he became serious about basketball when he was 12. Brionna, who played softball and the flute, said she focused solely on basketball when she was 13.
Brionna said she always will be grateful that her brother included her in his almost-daily trips to the court.
"He's the one who taught me about having a good work ethic, because every game he's in, he plays hard," she said. "He gives maximum effort every game, and I think that's what I've learned the most from him."
Jarred said he has benefited, too, taking notes on Brionna's low-post moves and rebounding ability.
"She does a lot of things that I don't do," he said. "She has some moves that I can't do. I just learn from her."
Brionna has developed into the more nationally acclaimed player. A first-team All-Big Ten Conference choice last season, she helped the U.S. team win the gold medal at the World University Games over the summer and was named to the Wooden Award Preseason Top 30.
Brionna, who will play with Stephanie next season, leads Maryland in rebounds (9.0) and ranks second in points (15.4) per game. Coach Brenda Frese said Jones has become a reliable presence in the paint for teammates such as junior guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough (18.4 points and 6.4 rebounds).
"She's the cog, the inside piece," Frese said. "Everything flows through her when you're talking about an inside-outside presence with her and Shatori. Our team doesn't have that much success if they don't have that inside-outside presence. We run everything through her."
After sitting out last season because of a broken wrist and knee injury, Jarred Jones has returned to lead the Greyhounds in scoring (14.6) and rebounding (8.0).
Coach G.G. Smith said Jones' value is defined by his willingness to sacrifice his body. Jones leads the team in charges taken (five), and often has to be told to stop diving after balls in practice.
"We missed him a lot last year," Smith said. "His value is out of the roof because he just does so much for us on both ends of the court. He's one of our better defenders. He's our best post scorer. He's our most versatile player. … I call him 'Mr. Intangible' because he just does so many things for us. A lot of the stuff, you don't see on the stat sheet, like diving for loose balls, taking charges. He doesn't mind doing all of the dirty work."
Like most siblings, Jarred and Brionna argue about bragging rights. Jarred swears he's the best player in the family, while Brionna points out that she has been to two Final Fours.
"I'm proud to say that he's my brother and doing well in college," Brionna said. "He was the one who helped me when I was younger. He helped me by going to the courts with him and helped motivate me to want to be better."
Said Jarred: "It's great because it's like all of the hard work has paid off. … You could tell by the work ethic that we had, we wanted it. So it's starting to pay off now."