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Poplarville basketball ready for the tournament

The basketball team for the Poplarville Lady Hornets wrapped up its regular season with a 42-29 win over Forrest County on Feb. 7.

The victory was a good rebound by the team after losing to Greene County just three days prior.

Turnovers were a problem once again when Poplarville took on the Lady Aggies.

To make up for that, Head Coach Robin Jeffries said she had her players focus on rebounding against an undersized Forrest County team.

Poplarville dominated the boards, especially offensively, and that translated to points for the Lady Hornets.

“We have continually done well on the boards, that’s just been one of our strengths. That’s just one of the things we’ve worked on and gotten better (at),” Jeffries said.

It was the final game for the Lady Hornets before the start of the district tournament.

The tournament will take place at Greene County’s gym and the first round game will pit the Lady Hornets against the Purvis Lady Tornadoes.

Both teams are evenly matched and have already played each other twice this season. The first game saw Purvis lose by seven points, while the second game was a five point victory over Poplarville.

Whoever wins the matchup with not only move on in the district tournament, but will also secure a playoff spot.

It’ll all be on the line when the two teams meet Feb. 11 at 7 p.m.

The Lady Hornets have been road warriors all season since the majority of the team’s season took place away from home.

It made the season tougher for the Lady Hornets, but all that time spent on the road could prove beneficial. The game against Purvis won’t be at home for either team, so the road experience of the Lady Hornets could be the difference maker in the first round match up.

“It’ll probably benefit us because we have traveled so much. It’s neutral ground, so it’s really going to come down to who can score (efficiently),” Jeffries said.

Poplarville’s game plan has been scaled back in recent weeks. There haven’t been a bunch of different defensive sets introduced and the team ran minimal set plays on offense.

It was a purposeful choice by Jeffries as the season progressed because of the team’s overall inexperience.

The changes have paid dividends and the Lady Hornets will now have momentum heading into the tournament thanks to the win over Forrest County.

The positive results may have tempted some coaches to implement new strategies, but Jeffries is going to stick with what got the team to this point.

“We are keeping it simple. I’m not adding anything in. When we go to play people they are going to know what we’re doing,” Jeffries said.

The big-game pressure may be new to the younger players. Jeffries said she knows her team can compete with Purvis; she just hopes her athletes believe in themselves when it’s game time.  “I know that we can play with them. When they step on the court they should play up to the way they want to play. They’re more than capable of doing it,” Jeffries said.