By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Maybe the stars have lined up in South Tipton County.
This might be the year for something really special to take place. The 2016-17 campaign might be historic for the Munford Lady Cougars.
But as area basketball experts talk about the potential of the Lady Cougars to reach State, Munford Head Coach Steve Poindexter is taking a low key approach to the upcoming season.
“I try to keep it as simple as possible,” he said. “What we preach here is absolutely your best effort and best attitude. That’s what we focus on. We don’t talk about winning. We really don’t talk about coming back or we really don’t talk about championship of any kind.
“We just simply ask our kids, ‘Are you giving your best?’” Poindexter added. “And ‘On a daily basis are you putting the team above yourself?’ The other big deal is for them to take care of themselves as we move forward.”
The Lady Cougars are moving into this season with an experienced group of Gabby Crawford, Shania “The Maine Girl” Johnson, Johnna Jones, De’Asha Banks and Dejanae Potter. Poindexter said he expects his team’s maturity and chemistry levels to be much higher in 2016-17.
“We’re hoping to see a reflection of that on the floor,” he said. “We try not to talk about anything else but doing our best. We have the luxury of having multiple point guards on the floor with Shania Johnson and Johnna Jones.
“Shania has played point guard for us the past few years,” he continued. “And Johnna can step up and play for us as well. I can’t consider one the starter over the other. It’s like we have two point guards on the floor. Whatever we’re doing, I feel comfortable with either one of them running it.”
The X-factor in the backcourt with Johnson and Jones will be Banks.
“If you think about our third guard position, De’Asha Banks has really improved,” Poindexter said. “She seems to be a much more confident player. If she plays with confidence you can really be a difference maker out there other teams won’t account for.”
In the front court Potter and Crawford will present problems for opponents in the paint and on the perimeter.
“You’ve got two girls on the floor when they want to be can be great defenders,” Poindexter said. “Potter led our team in offensive rebounds and taking charges last year. She’s an unselfish player who is in the right position.”
Once again the X-factor will be Banks adding to the inside/outside threats of the Lady Cougar post players.
“You have two girls you feel confident about throwing the ball inside and they’ll score,” Poindexter noted. “With Banks, she’s pretty versatile also playing in the post. And Gabby can step out and play on the perimeter and be effective. Potter can shoot from the outside as well.
The only real question mark for the Lady Cougars coming into the season is their bench. Poindexter said once District 13-3A play rolls around he will have a deeper bench than last season with the development of three young guards including Ally Gover.
“All three of them are guards and all three of them are smart,” he noted. “All three of them know their job when they are on the floor. And they are all a threat to score.”
Poindexter said if the Lady Cougars stay healthy and focused the rest will take care of itself.
“We want their absolute best effort and their absolute best attitude. If we’re doing that on a daily basis with the skill level we have, you put yourself in a position for those extra things like the championships and all that other stuff,” he concluded. “I don’t even want to talk about things like that. I just want to focus on one-day at a time, doing our job the best way we can possibly do it. If we do that we could possibly get that extra rewards that you get.”