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Poplarville basketball moving into offseason

Poplarville’s Lady Hornets basketball team fell 49-40 to Purvis’ Lady Tornadoes Feb. 11, resulting in the Lady Hornets being excluded from the playoffs.

The loss sent the Lady Hornets into the offseason.

Turnovers were the team’s Achilles heel all season and the story was the same against Purvis.

Head Coach Robin Jeffries said that if her team had been able to take better care of the ball, the Lady Hornets would’ve had more success against district foes.

“I think we could’ve absolutely made it to the first round of the playoffs if we had done two simple things. Make less turnovers and make less turnovers,” Jeffries said.

Poplarville did show improvement in several areas during the season, such as rebounding.

The Lady Hornets did a good job of crashing the boards not only defensively, but offensively as well, which gave the team second chance opportunities.

High school basketball players often times don’t hit a high percentage of three point shots, so being able to get an offensive rebound and have another possession can offset a team’s long range misses.

“Going for second shot opportunities we did a little better on. We decided to focus on one component and make that one thing better, and I think we did,” Jeffries said.

Jeffries scaled back the complexity of her team’s game plan as the season progressed.

The team is young and having a bunch of offensive plays and defensive sets can be a lot to handle.

Jeffries saw the issue, made the change, and the team responded with several victories towards the end of the season.

The team might not have made it into the playoffs, but the players gained valuable experience.

Now Poplarville will transition into the offseason, which includes a comprehensive weight lifting program.

Jeffries said the team would go back to basics during the offseason to clean up some of the issues Poplarville had on the court this year.

“Our defense was ok, but our blocking out and rebounding wasn’t. We didn’t allow many points on the first shot, but allowed too many opportunities to score,” Jeffries said.

The team now has a season’s worth of experience and will know what it takes to be successful.

Players have seen how to handle certain situations and Jeffries said the team is moving forward in its preparation for next year.

“We’re going back to fundamentals. I have the same group coming back, they’ll have another year under their belt and be more experienced,” Jeffries said.

All this offseason work will then lead into a summer league the Lady Hornets will participate in once school is out.

It’ll give the team some competitive action while allowing Jeffries to analyze the team’s progress.

“Come summer play in June, I’ll be able to tell then what we’re going to look like heading into the year,” Jeffries said.