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The other side

By Thomas Sellers Jr.Basketball Preview Lady Rebels

The Tipton-Rosemark Academy Lady Rebels new head coach is really familiar with the program.
Well, the boys’ program to be exact. For the past four years, Keith Cox was roaming the sideline of the Fayette Academy Vikings taking on boys’ teams like the TRA Rebels.
“I’ve seen Tipton-Rosemark and played against them the last four years,” Cox recalled. “I have a lot of history with the school here. Mr. Hooker was actually at Fayette with me before. So I sort of knew some of the people here before I got here.
“I coached boys at Fayette though,” he added. “I’m making the switch over to the girls. Honestly I didn’t spend a lot of time watching their games. I was always getting ready for my game. So, I hardly got a chance to watch. So, I came in here fresh without any preconceived thoughts. We’re all starting off fresh. It’s been good so far.”
Since his hire for the Lady Rebels job earlier this year, Cox has quickly educated himself on his new personnel.
“We have a couple of good guards coming back with a lot of good experience with Bethany Berger and Taylor Beasley,” he noted. “Also in the post with Alli Nafieh. Alexa Crum is a post with a lot of experience. It’s a good nucleus here that has gotten a lot of experienced play.”
Cox has started to incorporate younger players and freshmen with his experienced returners. Used to an up and down tempo, Cox said the Lady Rebels will be conditioned to keep the pace of games in 2014-15 flowing.
“We’re going to try to push it a little bit more,” he said. “We’ve got to get faster. It’s one of those things to where we have to learn to play with a faster pace than they’re used to playing. But I think we have a lot of depth. We’re going to try to push the ball and dig into our depth. We want to take advantage of the other teams lack of depth.”
Cox said the deeper rotation will also benefit TRA on the defensive end of the court.
“We’re going to be a very good defensive minded team,” he said. “They’re going to see a good fundamentally sounded defensive team that gets after people. That’s how we’re going to win or lose games. It’s going to have to happen on the defensive end. We have to be a very good defensive team that gets after people, does the little things right putting pressure on the ball. Not allowing easy baskets from other teams.”
This season marks Cox’s 10th in prep and grade school basketball. The previous nine years were spent at Fayette Academy and his coaching experience includes four seasons a middle grades coach, one season as a varsity assistant and four seasons as a head coach. His record as a head coach improved each year. His team won 20 games in second year of coaching and the district championship in his third season.
Now Cox is ready to improve the Lady Rebels and make them a four-quarter basketball team.
“A lot of what you saw last year was that lack of depth,” he said. “A lot time you’re short players and have five girls going the entire game, we didn’t have a lot left in the fourth quarter.
“We’re going to be able to sub and not have as much of a drop off,” Cox continued. “We will be able to have people rest throughout the course of the game so people can be able to play all four quarters.”
With the preseason drawing near an end, Cox is ready for year one with TRA.
“I think that we’re definitely going to be better than we were a year ago,” he said. “We’re heading in the right direction. USJ is really good. There girls are always good as far as the district goes.
“But I really believe we can be right there in the mix getting up there with the St. George’s and the Fayette Academys that battled it out for second and third,” Cox concluded. “I think we can definitely get into that mix and battle it out for the top two/thirds of the league.”

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November 2014
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