Thursday, December 12, 2013
Last year, in her first season as head coach, Crystal Cummings started off the year 4-1 with the North Augusta High School girls basketball team. This year, that record has flipped and the Jackets are struggling early on.
North Augusta (1-4) dropped games against Evans and Greenbrier. Against Evans, the Jackets lost 59-39, with Cydney Mathews being the only player in double digits with 13 points. Mathews also had six rebounds and three assists.
Against Greenbrier, at home, things bottomed out. The Jackets lost to the Wolfpack 71-28 with Sierra Sanders having 12 points and Ja’Lyn Sanders having 11 points.
The Jackets have been playing without their leader, Mallory Stone, since the second game of the season. Cummings stated that, right now, her team needs to translate what they are doing in practice to game time situations.
“We’re struggling with that, and I’ve got to go back and figure out why,” she said. “We put them in situations where they are practicing against pressure all practice, and they are making layups with contact. They’re also trying to draw the foul and make the layup, rebound and dribbling two-versus-one. We give them a lot of instances where they are in two-versus-one situations where they can play it in practice and they do it well. It’s just taking it from practice and putting it in the game and we just aren’t doing that right now.”
The good news for the Jackets, from practice on Monday night, is that Stone will play in their next game. It’s unlikely she will start, and may not be at full strength until after the weekend, but looking forward North Augusta will have its senior leader back on the court.
“She’s a big part of our game, but she is more of a leader, so when we lost her, we lost an on the floor leader as well as an offensive threat,” Cummings said after the loss to Greenbrier. “We do have other threats, it’s just not having their leader that they can turn to is causing some problems. When she is energetic and pumped, everyone else follows suit. Now, they don’t have that energy on the court with them.”
“We just need to get her confidence up and transfer what we are doing in practice to the game. In practice I have a totally different team – we just have to blend the two together,” Cummings said.
Next up for the Jackets will be a home date against Evans in a game that was to have happened on Tuesday evening. Following that is a home date against Cross Creek on Friday and another home game against Strom Thurmond on Saturday. The game against Cross Creek is scheduled to tip at 7 p.m. and the Strom Thurmond game is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at the North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since January 2013 after previously working at the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter @NAStarRodgers.