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Poplarville basketball learning to cut down on turnovers

All season, Head Coach Run Bowen has emphasized the importance of limiting turnovers to his players.

The Hornets’ basketball team was able to compete with any team on the court, but turnovers hindered the team’s ability to seal a victory.

And that was the story for Poplarville when it fell to Vancleave on Dec. 6 with a score 49-41.

Bowen said the team played well and was able to score on the Bulldogs, but turnovers made the difference.

“We just kept shooting ourselves in our foot with turning the ball over. Late in the game it ended up costing us,” Bowen said.

Four days later Poplarville had a match up against the Sumrall Bobcats and this time the storyline changed.

Reinforcements arrived in the form of football players whose responsibilities had shifted to the basketball team now that playoffs ended.

More numbers translated to added depth and Bowen said that depth allowed his team to maintain its energy level throughout the game.

“We had more depth, so the guys didn’t play tired and didn’t turn the ball over,” Bowen said.

Bowen said the team cut the number of turnovers in half and the lower number helped the Hornets defeat Sumrall 40-38, on Dec. 10.

The additions to the roster won’t mean Bowen is going to change his line up.

The starters can vary game to game for the Hornets so Bowen said the key is having players who can perform in crunch time.

Another aspect of that decision is who performs in practice.

Bowen said now that the football players are focused on basketball, practice sessions have been turned up a notch.

Friendly competition is taking place and the players are pushing each other to improve each day.

“The biggest difference is the practices are more heated and more intense, they’re going at each other. It’s survival of the fittest, the best players play,” Bowen said.

A system change has occurred when it comes to defense for the Hornets.

There is a match up against Lumberton looming on Dec. 13, so the Hornets will have another game to earn a victory and work out any issues defensively.

Poplarville’s focus is inward as the players adapt to and learn the new defensive system.

“Getting guys acclimated to what I’m asking them to play defensively and shoring up the defensive end is the main focus,” Bowen said.

Sumrall played a methodical, set driven offense with multiple set plays requiring rigid discipline on the part of the Bobcats’ players.

Lumberton will present a new challenge with a more free flowing offense so Bowen wants to see how the new defensive system matches up.

“We’ll see how it works. They’re contrasting styles. We know what we can do against (Sumrall’s) style, but what can we do against (Lumberton’s) style?” Bowen said.

The game against Lumberton is set for a 7:30 p.m. tip off.