By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The observation of Munford Lady Cougars Head Coach Steve Poindexter was on display during the season opener against the MHEA Lady Eagles.
Poindexter’s Lady Cougars hit the court on 11-12-13 to start the 2013-14 campaign in the Munford Gymnasium. The fourth-year Munford coach noted in the preseason his team has talent to compete with the best.
The Lady Cougars showed the crowd that jumping out to a 22-13 halftime lead. But Poindexter’s concern coming into this season was experience and chemistry. And the lack of those two elements popped up late in the game allowing MHEA to comeback to win 54-48 in overtime.
“My team doesn’t know how to finish a game yet,” Poindexter said. “We talked about it at halftime, in practices and today before the game. At a scrimmage we were in a tight situation like tonight. And I asked the girls, ‘Raise your hand if you have been in a close game like this year last year?’
“Nobody could raise their hand,” he continued. “We didn’t take advantage of opportunities having a five-point lead with less than 2 minutes to go. They just don’t know how to finish a game yet.”
The young Lady Cougars do know how to start a game jumping out to an 8-0 lead in the first quarter. The Munford defense held the Lady Eagles scoreless for almost 6 minutes.
Munford’s trio Lindsey Owen, Precious Mills and Kierra Richardson scored all 11 points in the opening quarter giving the Lady Cougars an 11-4 advantage.
The Lady Cougars scored 11 points in the second quarter starting with an Owen triple that made the score 14-8. Then Munford guard Phenicia Howard used a hop-step move for a layup.
Richardson kept up the pressure creating a steal leading to a breakaway basket making the score 18-8. Mills was next with a steal leading to a layup of her own to make the tally 20-8.
MHEA outscored Munford 5-2 to close out the first half to cut the deficit under 10 points.
The Lady Eagles came out of the locker room using their full-court press. MHEA created turnovers to spark a 10-2 run to make the score 24-23. Throughout that run the Lady Eagles got offense from Bailey Wilkes.
Richardson ended Munford’s field goal drought draining a three-pointer from the baseline. Mills added a triple to make the score 30-25 in favor of the Lady Cougars after three quarters.
Munford nursed its advantage most of the fourth quarter with Owen going into the paint for a layup to make the score 39-32. MHEA rallied with a 11-3 run to take the lead.
Trailing 44-42 late, Munford got a basket from Owen on a put-back to tie the score. The Lady Cougars had a chance to win the game with 1.7 seconds remaining.
Poindexter drew up an out-of-bound play at mid court that created an open shot for Mills. The junior guard’s jumper rimmed out at the buzzer.
In overtime Wilkes and the Lady Eagles outscored Munford 10-4. The Lady Cougars could only manage four foul shots in the extra period. Wilkes scored 26 points in a victorious effort.
“Hopefully in a bunch of games we’ll be up by 5 points with less than 2 minutes left the rest of the year,” Poindexter concluded. “It’s better than being down. We’ll learn to finish. They have to do what they’ve learned when the lights are on. We have to go through some growing pains of gaining experience. And the chemistry will get better.”