By Thomas Sellers Jr.
MEMPHIS — Since Steve Poindexter has arrived on the Munford High School campus his Lady Cougar Basketball program has taken a step up every season.
In his first season the youthful Lady Cougars pushed the higher seeded Craigmont Lady Chiefs to the brink of elimination in Regionals. Last season Munford was an overtime away from advancing to Sub-State.
So entering Friday’s game against the host of the Lynx Holiday Tournament Lausanne, Poindexter has set his focus improving game to game in order for his team to next another step forward at season’s end. Against the Lady Lynx, Munford dominated the boards leading to a 63-36 victory.
“Our transition was a lot better,” Poindexter noted. “I know we got sevreal points in transition. That’s something we’re trying to improve on. That starts with getting position and getting a rebound so you can get it and make the outlet to run the floor.
“We did a better job of that than we have been,” he added. “Our last game, we got out-rebounded by 21. We got killed on the boards. Today, we ran the floor and made some good swings (passes). We got people open threes. We got to the basket. So that was definitely a positive for this game.”
At Covington the Lady Cougars suffered a defeat losing the battle of the boards. Before making the trip to Memphis, Poindexter got his players to focus on boxing out and attacking the boards.
Munford built a solid lead before halftime. And the advantage grew to 50-22 after three quarters with the hot shooting of sophomore guard Kierra Richardson.
After a quiet first half, Richardson found her shooting touch. Her teammates Robneisha “Bird” Lee and Kierra Webb would race the ball up the floor to locate open shooters.
Before Richardson caught fire, it was senior Shalyiah Wiggins spreading the Lynx defense by hitting two triples. Wiggins scored 8 points in a row to make the Lady Cougar lead 43-20 in the third quarter.
Then after Lauren Zvolanek scored a bucket in the post it was K Rich Time. The guard hit her first three-pointer that made the score 48-22.
The fourth quarter gave Richardson more time to showcase her shooting touch hitting two more three-pointers. She added a layup to help the Lady Cougars post a 27-point win.
Poindexter has said all season it’s going to take a mixture of his young players like Richardson and guard Precious Mills with his seniors like Lee, Wiggins and Alex Turner to reach Sub-State and further.
“Our focus is trying to get better every game,” he said. “We know what our weaknesses are. We’re focused on trying to get better on those weaknesses. If we didn’t get any points on transitions, that’s been one of our problems. We don’t get any easy baskets. And we got some easy baskets today. It’s obvisous we’re moving in the right direction.
“I thought we scrapped for rebounds a little harder today,” Poindexter continued. “We got better at a few things today. And hopefully tomorrow we’ll continue to get better. It’s all about getting better for the district tournament.”
After the Lynx Holiday Tournament, the Lady Cougars have a trip to the Dyersburg Christmas Tournament in their near future before entering District 13-3A play.
Poindexter said the tournament at Dyersburg will give his team more chance to work on its new defense.
“Today gave us a good chance,” he noted. “They did some things offensively we really hadn’t had a chance to see or work on with the defense we’re playing. We have to do a better job of talking and getting in the passing lanes, just the fundamentals part of our defense.”
Another goal of the Dyersburg Tournament for Poindexter is to simulate the final tournament of the basketball season played in Murfreesboro in March.
“The goal is to win the tournament next week,” Poindexter concluded. “That is the closest thing we can get to schedulewise that’s like a State Tournament. In Triple A you have to win three games in a row, play three days in a row. That’s State Tournament like. I’m not saying we’re going to the State Tournament or anything like that, but if you don’t prepare for it with your goals.”