Thursday, December 19, 2013
The North Augusta High School girls basketball team is showing signs of improvement, splitting a pair of games this week.
The Jackets (2-6) dropped a game against Cross Creek 49-32, before coming back to dominate Strom Thurmond 72-23. Crystal Cummings, North Augusta’s head coach, said the difference in the games was on the defensive end of the court.
“The difference in the two games, versus Cross Creek we didn’t play a full four quarters of defense,” she said. “We came out really strong, Mallory Stone picked up two quick fouls and it seems like when she’s out of the game, everything drops a level. I stressed to them the importance of staying in the game, so that when she comes back it’s not a battle from 15 or 20 points back. It’s easier to keep her in rhythm, so everybody has to make passes, hustle and play smart when she’s not there. We want them to play with some confidence and pride about the name on the jersey.”
The message from Cummings was executed against Strom Thurmond, as the Jackets held the Rebels to two points in the first quarter and 23 for the game.
“We talked a lot after the (Cross Creek) game about talking on defense, playing defense for four quarters, staying aggressive and making good passes,” Cummings said. “I think they did that against Strom (Thurmond) and they were pretty happy about the score and were able to rebound from a tough loss to Cross Creek.”
Stone attributed the defensive change against Strom Thurmond to pressuring the ball as a team.
“Defensively, my teammates helped me pressure the ball, so we got steals and easy layups,” she said. “As far as our half court defense, we kind of started off slow, but we picked it up in the second half.”
On the offensive end, Cummings wants her team to move without the basketball, which allows Stone to find open teammates.
“It’s easier for her (Stone) to get going if they’re moving on offense,” Cummings said. “A lot of the time we’ll just stand around and not do what we need to do. A lot of the time, we’ll make the first pass and then go away from our plays. We need to get everybody moving, because that makes it easier for Mallory to cut through and drive with the defense moving, and if they collapse on her, it’s easier to swing it out to a shooter.”
Cummings wants her team to focus on defense in its last two games going into the holiday break.
“Going into the break, we’re going to work on defense, we’re a defensive minded team and we’re going to work on some offensive sets to create movement,” she said.
North Augusta is scheduled to play at Strom Thurmond on Tuesday and at Greenbrier on Friday before breaking until Jan. 4.
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