By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The holidays were up and down for the Munford Lady Cougars.
So of the ups were double digit wins over teams like Poplar Bluff, Lausanne and Jackson-Central Merry Friday night in the Munford Gymnasium. The Lady Cougars dominated the JCM Lady Cougars 61-29 including holding JCM scoreless in the third quarter.
But during late December game, Munford Head Coach Steve Poindexter noted his team didn’t give full effort in some quarters including the fourth period against Dyersburg in the championship game of the Dyersburg Christmas Tournament. Only trailing 44-42 entering the final period, the Lady Trojans outscored Munford 17-5 to win the title.
“We’re trying to figure out who we are and what we can do and can’t do,” Poindexter noted. “I’m just pushing for consistent play.”
The Lady Cougars were close to consistent play in the first two games of the 2013 Dyersburg Christmas Tournament beating Poplar Bluff 57-47 in the opening round. In the semifinals, Munford took down Lausanne 54-39.
In all three games the backcourt of Precious Mills and Kierra Richardson shined.
“Our guard play was good over the break,” Poindexter said. “We had a game over the break where Precious Mills had her career high with 31 points against Poplar Bluff. Richardson had 15 in that same game.
“Then we follow it up with Richardson having 20 in the next game and Mills had about 11 or 12,” he continued. “You’re talking about a three-game stretch were Mills had more than 50 points and Richardson had about 40 points in those three games. That’s what I expected out of those two.”
The Lady Cougars were minus Mills against JCM. And her presence was missed in the first quarter with Munford allowing 13 points to the visiting Lady Cougars. But the host Lady Cougars’ 19-13 first-quarter lead grew to 43-19 by halftime.
Players like Phenicia Howard and Lindsey Owen picked up for Mills’ absence because of the flu. The duo made JCM sick all night combining for 31 points.
Richardson continued her solid shooting with 16 points in the game. Howard muched her total while Owen contributed 15 points. Shania Johnson added 8 points in the winning effort.
Munford’s defense was the story in the second half holding JCM scoreless in the third quarter and to 10 points in the fourth quarter.
Lady Cougars like Alex Wherry, Johnna Jones and Lydia Jones were all aggressive on the defensive end shutting down JCM.
“We just have so many new faces out there,” Poindexter noted. “We’re not there chemistrywise. We’re not there experiencewise. We’re not there from a toughness standpoint. There are so many area where we still have to grow. That’s why you’re going to see a two or three game stretch where we look so good. Then you’re going to have a couple of game where we don’t.”
Poindexter noted his team has characteristics of a young team because they lack varsity-game experience. The veteran coach said he hopes over the District 13-3A schedule in January and February his team matures in time for the postseason.
“We’ve got 12 more game to get as sharp as we can possibly get before tournament time,” he concluded. “No matter what happens in the regular season, nothing matters until the tournament. And that’s what we’re pushing for to be the best we can possible be come tournament time.”