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Poplarville girls basketball dealing with inexperience

The Poplarville Lady Hornets basketball team is entering a gauntlet of district games.

Poplarville has only played one district game so far this season, which ended in a close 46-41 loss to the Sumrall Bobcats back in early December.

Since then the Lady Hornets have had plenty of games, but not against district foes.

The performances against the other teams in the district is what will determine Poplarville’s seeding in the district tournament, so Head Coach Robin Jeffries is hoping the team can continue to improve heading into that portion of the season.

However, earning a high seed will be a tough task for a team without any seniors and only a few players used to playing a large number of minutes.

Outside the starting five for the Lady Hornets the rest of the players are still building experience on the court.

Jeffries said the youth of the squad has led to some necessary tweaks during the season.

“We play like we’re playing cautious. I was watching practice today and I’m trying to figure out what’s best for us and not best for us,” Jeffries said.

The team’s youth becomes more obvious when Jeffries goes to her bench. Many of the players there didn’t get significant minutes in previous seasons, so the learning curve has been significant.

Whether or not the players are ready, their time is upon them and Jeffries said she’s hoping the young players step up heading into the second half of the season.

“They’re being put in a position that I don’t think they’re ready for. When you only have (a starting) five, they have to get to the point where they have to step up,” Jeffries said.

Considering the team has only played one district game, there are many more games to be played before the district tournament. Jeffries said there haven’t been significant changes in the teams’ statistical averages as the season progressed, something she’s hoping will change heading into the New Year.

The Lady Hornets may be consistent in what they’re averaging, but Jeffries is hoping for a spark in the second half of the season.

“Our stats are right across the board from game one to our last game. We’re just stuck. It’s my job to shake things up and I’m trying to find what that is,” Jeffries said.

The shake up comes as the Lady Hornets head into three district match ups in a row.

First is Forrest County on Dec. 3 followed by Stone on Dec. 7 and Purvis on Dec. 10.

Those three games could have a massive impact on the Lady Hornets’ position within their district.

“We talk about what we’ve done in the past and it’s got us to this point where we need to focus and hone in on a couple little tweaks. The first round of district play is crucial,” Jeffries said.

The game against Forrest County will start at 6 p.m.