Lady Tigers Open Season Monday Night; Expectations High
The Coahoma Community College Lady Tigers are expecting big things from some of their smaller athletes during CCC’s 2013-14 basketball campaign. Head Coach LaCole Brooks believes she has some talented players at the guard position, and she is going to be relying on them to set the tone when Coahoma opens its season Monday night in Decatur, MS against East Central Community College.
“We have a lot of strength this season at the guard position and we have some girls that have the potential to be playmakers,” said Brooks. “Each has certain talents, we have some good shooters and some that do a good job of getting to the basket. If we can be disciplined, we should have the opportunity to make some big strides this season.”
The Lady Tigers will have to overcome the early loss of two of their returning sophomores, Fredricka Holmes and Gabrielle Gilbert, who will be unable to suit up for the first part of the season. That leaves coach Brooks depending on sophomores Antoinette Mayfield, Krystal Pearson and Azande Collier to step up and take even more active leadership roles early this season.
“I’ve been on (Collier) all preseason to be more vocal, and to be more of a leader,” said Brooks. “She’s our coach out on the court and I want her to understand that role. Between her, and Pearson and Mayfield I’m expecting them all to be leaders for this team both on and off the court.”
The Lady Tigers are looking to improve on last year’s three-win season. Coahoma lost quite a few games by slim margins and this year’s squad believes it has the talent to not just hang in with the best teams in the MACJC, but turning some of those narrow losses into victories.
“We have more firepower this season,” said Brooks. “If we can get focused, and get our heads right and maintain discipline on the court, we should be more successful than we were last season. We lost quite a few close games and if we can stay healthy, and get all of our personnel back, things will improve.”
The loss of two of her key returning starters will force the Lady tigers to adjust their roster and some of their athletes will be playing outside of their normal positions. Coahoma is concentrating on getting better defensively right now according to Brooks, working to improve their timing and spacing and shoring up loose ends in preparation for Monday night’s opener.
“We’re tightening our game up, both the tactical and technical sides,” Brooks said. “We getting ready, preparing for what other teams are going to try and do to us, and what we are going to try and do to them.”
The Lady Tigers got a bit of a litmus test Tuesday evening in a scrimmage game with Hinds Community College at the Pinnacle. Brooks said her team would need to get better defensively, be more aggressive rebounding the ball, and do a better job of covering their defensive assignments. She also said that currently, a lot of her post players are young, and just need to get some game time under their belts.
“Our post players are young, and they do need to get some experience,” said Brooks, “but I really expect them to gradually continue to bring more and more to the floor each and every game.”
Coahoma’s toughest competition this season will likely come from Itawamba – the defending Region 23 champions – with Northwest and East Mississippi also expected to have strong squads.
Tipoff for the season opener is at 6 p.m., Monday night in Decatur. The Lady Tigers will also compete in the Southern University Classic Nov. 8-9 before hosting their first home game here in Clarksdale on Nov. 18 in a rematch with East Central Mississippi.