Lady Tigers face trio of games
Published 10:54 pm Monday, January 12, 2009
Demopolis High girls’ basketball coach Tony Pittman makes no bones about the defining the rest of his team’s season.
“Every ball game from here on out is to prepare us for the area tournament,” Pittman said.
As is, Demopolis would enter the bracket as the No. 3 seed.
However, two forthcoming games with Chilton County prevent the Lady Tigers from being locked into that slot.
The first of those scheduled meetings will come as just one of the three games the team will play this week.
Before hosting Chilton County Friday night, the girls will first welcome Francis Marion to town tonight.
“Hard-nosed, man-to-man defense,” Pittman said describing what he expects to see from Francis Marion. “They’re very aggressive with the ball. We’ve got to limit them to one shot and I think we’ll be fine.”
Francis Marion is the only one of the three foes that Pittman’s team has seen this season.
Still, the lack of familiarity with Chilton County does not concern Pittman.
“My approach is not so much who we’re playing, but how we approach the ball game,” Pittman said.
“If we mentally prepare for the ball game, we can play with anybody on our schedule. I think we’ve proven that.”
As it presses forward in its regular season schedule, PIttman’s team has area of concern on which it must focus. Chief among those, according to Pittman, is developing depth.
The team’s bench is comprised primarily of underclassman players who are experiencing their first taste of varsity basketball.
“Our weakness at this point is our productivity off the bench,” Pittman said. “Hopefully they’ll come through for us down the stretch.”
Aside from the customary growing pains which accompany young teams, the Lady Tigers have also focused extensive energy on reducing turnovers and converting free throw opportunities.
While he is confident his team has not yet peaked, Pittman has been pleased with the way his team has been able to offset the loss of sophomore Kiera Carter, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against Carver earlier this season.
“Even with the loss of Kiera, we’ve still been in every ball game we’ve played,” he said. “Right now we’re playing both of the bigs in that position to help fill that void. We’re working between the two freshmen to try to even out the playing.”
The “bigs” the team has been utilizing are Shadijah Moore and Breanna Jones, a pair of six-foot tall freshmen forwards who have logged significant minutes this season.
The girls will use this week’s challenges to ready themselves for the area tournament, a task Pittman believes will be much easier if the team can put together a winning streak.
“I feel like a couple wins under our belt would help the confidence of our young people as we head to the area tournament,” Pittman said.