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Poplarville preparing for start of district schedule

Thanksgiving break didn’t last long for the Poplarville Lady Hornets basketball team as the squad took part in a tournament last weekend that ended with Poplarville winning both games.

First the Lady Hornets took on the Lamar Christian Lions, winning 38-36 in a hard fought game before then taking on Pass Christian and coming away with a 32-26 victory.

The two wins were followed up by a 71-35 loss to Gulfport earlier this week, but Head Coach Robin Jeffries said there were plenty of positives to take from the games.

“I think our defense kept us in the game and won it for us against Pass Christian since it wasn’t a high scoring game. We came out of those with two wins so I was proud of them. They played hard,” Jeffries said.

Senior Deanna Freeman led the Lady Hornets with 22 points against Gulfport and dominated down low.

Players know what their role is on the team, and Freeman’s is to dominate the paint. Even with the lopsided score the senior kept battling on the block.

“She kept her energy the whole game and just kept playing. It’s easy to get down when you’re being beat. You could have the tendency to get down when the going got tough but (Deanna) kept her head in the game, and that shows her maturity level,” Jeffries said.

Closing out two tight games prior to the Gulfport matchup is a positive sign moving down the line when the Lady Hornets will have to grind out positive results against district opponents.

Late game execution decides games, and that’s when the simplest parts of the basketball become the most important.

“Making free throws becomes very important. Making free throws and being patient. You don’t just want to get wrapped up in the speed of the game from the other team. You just want to play your own game,” Jeffries said.

Poplarville’s offense is predicated on getting into the lane and being aggressive getting to the basket.

Jeffries said there’s still room for improvement offensively as the Lady Hornets prepare for their first district game of the season next week against Sumrall.

“Our spacing, we could work on. Like a lot of high school teams we have a tendency to get on top of each other, but we do practice that. Every practice we talk about spacing, being in the correct (spot) and being the right distance from each other,” Jeffries said.

The Sumrall game isn’t until Dec. 8, so the Lady Hornets will have several days of practice to correct things that hurt them in the past couple of games.

Priority number one will be making sure to not turn the ball over before reaching half court.

“(We’re going to work on) being able to get our way out of a press, and being able to handle any full court press anybody throws at us. (We also need to improve on) seeing the court better and making better passes,” Jeffries said.

The Sumrall game will be away from home and start at 5 p.m.

The match up will have more on the line with the result affecting district seeding, but as COVID-19 cases continue to rise Jeffries is just wishing her athletes get to play in a full season. “For us, we just hope we get through the season. We’re going to just keep taking precautions and doing what you’re supposed to be doing. We’re trying to follow the guidelines and we only hope we can get through the season,” Jeffries said.