By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Welcome to Tipton-Rosemark Academy Basketball Keith Cox.
The new head coach of the Lady Rebels debuted on Veteran’s Day in the TRA Gymnasium against powerhouse program the Northpoint Lady Trojans. Northpoint was State runner-up last season and features a lineup loaded with experience. The balanced Lady Trojan attack dominated from start to finish against the Lady Rebels to win 73-34.
“We played a really good team coming out for the first game of the season,” Cox said. “I felt like there were things we obviously struggled at. We see that we have to get a lot better at taking care of the basketball. We struggled getting rebounds. We’ve learned that especially when we are undersized at every single position by 3 or 4 inches, we have to work better at boxing out. At the same time, I felt like our girls played hard the entire game.”
TRA’s uphill climb was made tougher when senior guard Bethany Berger went to the bench in foul trouble. Cox had to employ several underclassmen like Molly Word to keep the Lady Rebels in the game.
Word led TRA with 12 points using moves to the basket and hitting a couple of long jumpers. Her teammate junior Taylor Beasley added 9 points.
Meanwhile the Lady Trojans displayed their the efficient offense featuring multiple passes with five players in double figures. Ashtyn Baker led the way with 15 points.
Andrea Sparkman added 12 for Northpoint and Charlie Hughes contributed 11. Lauren Decembrino and Jade Wells both scored 10 points for the Lady Trojans.
Despite Northpoint’s experience help it build a large lead, Cox saw his Lady Rebels sticking to his game plan.
“No one ever quit and we had a lot of youth out there on the court,” he noted. “At one point, even when they still had their starters out there in the game, we had four freshmen on the court at one time. Bethany, our point guard, got into foul trouble. She probably played 8 or 9 minutes the entire game. She’s really our main ball handler.
“We struggle against pressure whenever we don’t have her on the floor,” Cox continued. “So somebody else has to step up. And I think Molly Word, who is a freshman, did a good job of coming in and handling the pressure for a young player.”
Cox said his Lady Rebels are learning man-to-man defense and new offensive concepts. He’s proud of how they handle things in their debut under his leadership against one of the best teams in the area.
“We probably could have done some things that could have cut that down a little bit,” he acknowledged. “But we wanted to learn. We didn’t change anything because I told the girls, ‘We’re going to do what we do regardless of what they do right now. This early in the season our goal is to get better.’
“That’s what it is all about with a game like this,” Cox concluded. “This isn’t a district game. They was a really good scrimmage against the best team in the state. It was a good opportunity to work on our things against a team who is going to do it as well as anybody else.”