Lady Panthers off to a 1-2 start

By CATHRYN CARTWRIGHT,

The Yazoo County Lady Panthers are now 1-2 for the season after falling 72-46 to Choctaw Central last thursday.

Lady Panther's Coach Christine Demus said that before the game started she thought her girls were ready for the challenge of competing with one of the top teams in the state.

"I didn't want my girls to come in intimidated or anything," she said. "I told them before the game to slow it down and not fall into a running game with them because that is their strength.  I  had the mindset of actually pulling off a win."

Demus added that she planned this years schedule around playing tougher teams this year in order to get the girls more prepared for district play in the spring.

Once the game started, Demus said that she was pleased with how the first quarter ended.  The lady panthers seems equally matched with the Lady warriors, and were only 2 points behind with a score of 15-17.

"I think we did a good job of actually executing the game plan," she said. "We slowed the ball down, ran our offense, and didn't panic whenever they went into the full court press. We did a good job of moving the ball during that first quarter, so that's why you had that result of 15-17."

The Lady Panthers started to unravel, however, early in the 2nd Quarter, and soon fell behind with a score of 22 - 38 at halftime.

"We started playing their game," Demus said. "During the full court press we would actually get into a running game with them, where the players would just catch and dribble.  So during the second quarter we went completely away from our game plan and that's why they outscored us."

As the game continued, Choctaw Central kept putting even more pressure on Yazoo County's girls, causing frustration for the Lady Panthers, and making several shots from the three point line. 

Demus said that there was a definite lack of communication within the Lady Panthers, which only seemed to add to the frustration on the court, and the gap on the scoreboard continued to widen. The Lady Warriors added more points in the third quarter, changing the score to 36-58.  Despite efforts from the Lady Panthers to fight back in the 4th quarter, Choctaw Central took home the victory, winning the game 72-46.

Demus said that biggest weakness her girls have right now is just staying strong mentally when faced with adversity on the court.

"The mental part of it is not there yet," she said. "That's one of our weaknesses right now is that sometimes our mindset is in a different place when adversity comes. They are trying to figure out how to respond to it right now, so that is the biggest challenge right now."

Standing out in this game was Lady Panther Jordan Scott, who truly played her heart out against the Lady Warriors.

"Jordan had a huge game that night," Demus said. "She had 21 points and 15 rebounds.  I'm sure that was by far one of Jordan's best games."

Shamyia Douglas also had a great game playing for Yazoo County.

"Shamyia played a key role on defense by talking up and being aggressive ," Demus said. "She didn't get tired and she was able to play the whole game."

Also making an impact in this game was Catherine Collum, a new transfer this year who Demus said will be explosive on the court this year once she becomes fully accustomed to her new team and new system.

"Catherine will most definitely be in our Top 6 rotation very easily," she said.

Chloe Edwards was another playmaker in this game for the Lady Panthers, who they all seemed to gravitate toward as a point-earner.

"I think their game plan was surrounded by Chloe since she has been the one scoring for us in the last two games," Demus said. "She was able to maintain and do her job.  She only had 6 points this game, but she didn't have many turnovers."

Demus said that she was fairly impressed with the good things that she saw the Lady Panthers doing during the game, but was upset by the fact that the girls strayed from the original strategy.

"I am upset about us venturing away from our gameplan, because that shows a lack of discipline on their part." she said. "But we are going to fix it.  I really feel that once these girls get on the same page, they are going to be a good team."

Demus said that they have more work to do in the coming weeks, but that they will focus on getting stronger with their fundamentals such as making lay-ups, rebounding, and passing.

The Lady Panthers will next host Murrah High School on Nov. 19, at home, starting at 5 p.m.