Poplarville basketball leaning on young players

Published 7:00 am Thursday, December 5, 2019

Consistency is key in any sport, but a hindrance that can be due to a team’s inexperience.

Young players without significant minutes can make mistakes as they learn the intricacies of the game and that’s been the case for the Poplarville Hornets’ boys basketball team this season.

Head Coach Run Bowen said his team is still trying to be more consistent, especially as the season progresses and the squad moves into district play.

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“It’s been like a roller coaster ride, been kind of up and down. I attribute that to a bunch of guys who are young and don’t have a bunch of game experience,” Bowen said.

However, during a recent match up against the Picayune Maroon Tide on Dec. 3, which Picayune won 67-58, Bowen said he liked what he saw from his team.

The chemistry between players translates to better on court performances and Bowen said something he’s focused on from the beginning has been the importance of being selfless.

“The group is more important than the individual. It’s a brotherhood, we take care of each other and help each other,” Bowen said.

Against Picayune the Hornets trailed for the majority of the game, but that didn’t stop the players from competing.

In the final two quarters of play Poplarville started to mount a comeback and the team’s tenacity couldn’t be questioned even if it didn’t translate to a victory.

“My guys are young and inexperienced and make a lot of mistakes, but they keep fighting because they want to be successful,” Bowen said.

One of the key contributors for the Hornets against the Maroon Tide was junior Donte Buckley.

The guard hit some tough three pointers, played good defense for all four quarters and finished the game with 23 points.

Like the rest of the players, Bowen wanted to see consistency and effort from Buckley and against Picayune Buckley answered the call.

“The problem has been playing four quarters and both ends. Against Picayune he defended as well as he was playing offense,” Bowen said.

The team plays the Vancleave Bulldogs Dec. 6 at 6 p.m., so the Hornets will only have a couple of days of practice between games.

Bowen wants to use that time to focus on the three keys to being competitive in a basketball game.

Getting stops, sharing the ball and taking care of the ball.

“Each of our games up until last night we struggled with one of those aspects. (Against Picayune) was the first time we did a better job of getting stops, sharing the ball and taking care of the ball,” Bowen said.

After the game against Vancleave the Hornets will have their first district game against Sumrall on Dec. 10.

Even with such big match ups looming, Bowen said his team isn’t worrying about what other teams are doing.

“Right now we’re more focused on us and trying to get better every day,” Bowen said.

A call to Eric Vianney, the basketball coach at Picayune, was not returned before press time.