Hornets hoops regular season winding down
Poplarville and Stone County met on the hardwood Friday evening with the Tomcats winning both match ups.
A hard fought battle between the Hornets and Tomcats ended in a Stone County victory 41-36.
The game was a defensive slugfest, but late game execution ended up being the defining factor in the Stone County win.
Poplarville had a good night sharing the ball and spreading the wealth offensively, a goal for Head Coach Run Bowen. Dante Buckley led the team with 14 points.
Double double machine Riley Josey finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds while Torry Polk also added 10 points.
“There’s still room for improvement and there were a couple of possessions where if we make one more pass we get a better look. But as far as running sets and being where they need to be, they did a good job of that,” Bowen said.
Defensive positioning and rebounding are two areas Bowen wants to see improvement in with the district tournament less than a week away. However, at this point in the season there aren’t going to be any wholesale changes.
The Hornets have to stick to their guns and do what they do best.
“If I had to pick out anything on the defensive side I’d say we need to do a better job on the boards, but we are who are we now. There’s no adjusting. We’re just going to grind out the rest of the games, rest of the season,” Bowen said.
The Lady Hornets battled, but couldn’t contain Stone County’s Hayleigh Breland who had 37 points on the night in the Lady Tomcats’ 61-53 win.
However, Poplarville performed well offensively, led by Tytiana Buckley who returned to the court after spending time in quarantine.
Buckley had 27 points on the night while Deanna Freeman and Nashanti Tillman each added 10 points. Having Buckley back in the mix is huge for the Lady Hornets as she provides tenacity defensively and a dangerous option offensively.
She’s the floor general for the Lady Hornets, and because of that Head Coach Robin Jeffries is expecting more from her besides production on the court.
“(I want her to) be a leader. Be positive, be uplifting. Give some positive criticism. Get players to do the right thing in a positive manner,” Jeffries said.
The team’s strategies and line ups won’t see much change seeing as there are only two more games left in the regular season before the district tournament starts next week.
Poplarville isn’t lacking talent, so the athletes’ work ethic and energy on the court will determine how the team fares the rest of the season.
“I’m not changing any offense. I’m not changing any defense. I’m not changing anything. We’re just going to do what we’ve been doing in the past. It just takes effort. You just have to put a little effort into what you’re doing,” Jeffries said.