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Poplarville basketball comes close against Stone County

An important district game between the Poplarville Lady Hornets and Stone County’s Lady Tomcats on Jan. 7 resulted in a Lady Tomcats win 52-42.

The two teams were evenly matched and the squads were neck and neck until late in the fourth quarter when Stone County pulled away.

Tytiana Buckley led the team with her offensive efficiency and tenacity on the defensive end of the court, but the Lady Hornets couldn’t overcome the Lady Tomcats.

The loss put the Hornets at 1-2 in their district with plenty of games left to play.

Poplarville is right in the middle of the race for the best seeds in the district tournament, which is determined by who has the best district record.

Buckley’s contributions weren’t unnoticed by Head Coach Robin Jeffries, who praised the player’s work on the court.

However, the team struggled with fatigue late in the game, which Jeffries said impacted her team’s ability to pull out the win.

“It’s a problem when you have one kid doing everything offensively and defensively. Our talk in the locker room after the game was one or two players can’t carry the game on their shoulders,” Jeffries said.

The Lady Hornets are looking to build more bench depth and one such player who could end up contributing is 8th grader Tameaha Bester.

Bester was called up from the middle school team to add depth to the varsity roster.

Jefferies said she performed well against the Lady Tomcats.

“She’s very coachable, which makes it even better. I just appreciate what she can step out and give us,” Jeffries said.

The Lady Hornets employed a full court press at key moments in the game to try and force more turnovers.

The strategy saw some success, but the extra running exhausted the players.

Jeffries said she likes coaching up tempo, but with such a thin team she’s had to scale that back.

Now it’s just a matter of honing in on a few specific offensive and defensive sets to perfect, instead of pushing the pace all game.

“We’re going to keep going and do what we do. You have to hone in on one or two of each and get really good at those things,” Jeffries said. Next up for the Lady Hornets is another important district game against the Purvis Lady Tornadoes.

Jeffries said her team has the talent to compete with any opponent; it’s just a matter of who plays harder and has fewer turnovers.

The Lady Hornets know what they need to do to win games, the players just have to put it all together on the court.

“We’re capable of winning any of these games, but we can’t have as many turnovers as we did. They’ll capitalize, they’re older and experienced (teams),” Jeffries said. Tip off for the game against Purvis will be at 6 p.m.