Down but not quite out

Published 8:42 pm Monday, January 5, 2009

Winning is not necessarily always the cure for what ails a team. At least, not for Demopolis boys’ head basketball coach Jesse Bell it is not.

His team picked up a 46-40 win over Thomasville on the road Saturday night.

However, a six-point win in a game in which his team led by as many as 15 points is not nearly enough to overpower the bitter taste of Friday night’s 51-21 loss to area foe Carver.

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“Turnovers are really hurting this basketball team right now,” Bell said.

The Tigers’ issues are compounded by the fact that they are shooting a very low percentage.

“We’re not taking good shots at all,” Bell said.

At the start of Monday’s practice, Bell informed his team that it has attempted more three-point shots than two-point shots through its first 12 games.

He urged his team yet again to work the ball into the 15-foot area on offense.

Nonetheless, as unhappy as he has been with his team’s offensive production, Bell has been most disconcerted with the Tigers’ defensive play.

“We’re not agressive,” Bell said. “We’re not getting into a good defensive position.”

The struggles are the continuation of battles Bell has been fighting all season long.

“If they don’t do it, take them out and put some kids in that will do it,” Bell said of his apparent need to make lineup changes. “You’ve got to play players who are going to do what you ask them to do.”

The long-time Tiger head coach did not back off of his hardline stance that his team has a great deal of work to do.

However, he did concede that inexperience has played a large role in the troubles experienced by the 6-6 squad.

“I’ve only got one player on this team from last year who had a lot of varsity experience,” Bell said of his roster’s makeup.

The loss to Carver put Demopolis at 0-4 in area play and rendered it mathematically incapable of winning the league in the regular season.

With that in mind, Bell and his team set to work Monday in preparation for postseason tournament play.

The Tigers’ remaining schedule includes teams such as Livingston, Chilton County, Pickens County and tonight’s opponent, Meridian (Miss.), a one-loss team.

“Playing schools like that will get us ready (for tournament play),” Bell said.

A considerable portion of that time, according to Bell, will be used to evaluate which players will fill which roles heading into postseason tournament play.

“These last 15 ball games, that’s what it’s going to be, a feeling out process,” Bell said.

In order to facilitate that process, Bell said he intends to ramp up the intensity during practice sessions.

“I’m going to turn it up a little bit,” Bell said. “They’ll respond.”