• 70°

Poplarville basketball picks up another win before long layoff

The Poplarville Hornets basketball beat the Bay High Tigers 47-39 last week.

Poplarville was led by Amari Gilmore who filled up the stat sheet with 34 points and 12 rebounds.

Riley Josey added 6 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists to go along with Dalton Davis’ 5 points and 4 assists.

Gilmore has been part of the program since seventh grade, and has spent time in the gym honing his craft.

Head Coach Run Bowen said if Gilmore continues putting in the work, good things will happen.

“He’s always had a good game and he’s always been a good shooter. This season, with corona, it’s been tough as far as getting in the gym, but he’s been doing a pretty good job of getting in there and working. If he can work through (the distractions) he has a bright future in basketball,” Bowen said.

Bowen is missing a large portion of his team because a number of them are on the football team, which is deep into the postseason.

However, getting a win against Bay was a step in the right direction for Poplarville as the team looks to make the most of the games that will take place before the football playoff schedule comes to a close.

“I told the kids you don’t realize how big that is for our program moving forward and trying to build it. They’re feeling good about where they are,” Bowen said.

The team’s overall inexperience means the early season games will be about cleaning up fundamentals.

Whether it be in practice, or in a competitive setting, Bowen harps on three basic pillars of basketball; take care of the ball, share the ball and get stops.

“They’re focused on those three things. The guys getting game experience now is the difference because when they don’t get that experience it slows their development. They’ve been thrown in the fire and are responding well,” Bowen said.

The Hornets have been learning on the fly this year, which is leading to some positive new developments amongst the team.

Athletes are being more responsible and cerebral in their play, so Bowen hasn’t had to do as much when it comes to correcting bad decisions.

“When they want to go and reach (for the ball) or try to get a rebound when they’re not in a good position, other kids will tell them to let it go. You can hear them communicating on the floor. It’s almost like peer teaching,” Bowen said.

The team’s next game is against Lamar Christian on Nov. 27 at Pearl River Community College.

When tipoff for that game takes place, the team will have been off the court for 10 days, and Bowen said the long layoff comes with positives and negatives as Poplarville moves further into the season. “I think it’s a double edged sword. The guys coming in from football will take a long time to gel with guys (who have been playing). We put in a new system so it’ll take those guys some time to play and gain experience. I think we’ll struggle a little early in district, but ideally we’ll be playing our best basketball going into the district tournament, which is what you want to be doing anyway,” Bowen said.