Lady Jackets ramp up intensity
For the North Augusta girls basketball team, region play is starting at the perfect time.
The Jackets (5-9) have had a long layoff since their last contest, and have used the time to get better on the offensive end of the floor.
“Actually, this may be surprising, we have been fine-tuning our offense,” Crystal Cummings, North Augusta’s head coach, said. “We usually work on our defense a lot, and we haven’t gone away from that, but we’ve been working hard on offense. We want to make sure all of our screens are right and that everybody is where they’re supposed to be. Sometimes we get into a slump (during games) where we just take bad shots and don’t run plays correctly and we lose points in doing that. We’ve been working on our offense for the past week.”
North Augusta is coming off a loss to Cross Creek in which they only scored three points in the fourth quarter. According to Cummings, the loss has helped her team get more focused on offense.
“In the second half with Cross Creek we did get stagnant on offense,” she said. “That’s why we went back to see what was going wrong. We were a little sloppy on the screens, so it just made them focus a little more. They saw themselves missing shots and not scoring. They were a little more focused and wanted to know where they were supposed to be on this play and things like that. It’s worked in practice, but the real test will be on Tuesday (against Lexington).”
The game against Lexington will open up region play for North Augusta. Cummings and her team hope to be region champions at the end of the season.
“Without sounding too cocky, I believe that it is our region to win or lose,” she said. “It’s up to my team to either be No. 1 or somewhere after there.”
Her players echoed her thoughts on the region.
“We’re going to win the region, we want to be No. 1,” Ja’Lyn Sanders said. “We’re going to be a totally different team.”
Sanders and Mallory Stone were two of the top scorers for the Jackets in non-region play. Cummings is looking to the duo to continue that production the rest of the season.
“We’ve got Mallory Stone and Ja’Lyn (Sanders) scoring consistently,” Cummings said. “I would love for Cydney Matthews to step up. Our first game, a scrimmage, against Laney, she scored 18 points, so she is very capable of doing it. I would love for her to do it on a consistent basis.”
Matthews is hoping to see the whole team play with more intensity as region play begins.
“We’re going to play with more effort and intensity,” she said. “We want it now. We know this is a big deal and we’re going to bring it.”
The Jackets are scheduled to begin their quest for a region crown on Tuesday against Lexington before traveling to White Knoll on Friday.
T.J. Lundeen is a reporter for the North Augusta Star. Follow him on Twitter @lundeentj for more updates.