By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Clad in his Lady Cougar maroon and black, Bounds exchanged greeting with the Millington Lady Trojan sophomore and gave her a couple of pointers to get her blocks to land in play.
Bounds noted part of his team’s game plan was to keep the ball away from Marona and her senior teammates Hannah Clifton and Sierra Wilburn.
The strategy worked with Munford earning a sweep 25-12, 25-20 and 25-12. Marona had a hard time with the defeat but gladly accepted the coach’s advise.
“I’m about the players and seeing all of them get better,” Bounds said. “I want to see teams around here get better in Tipton County and North Shelby County. It will help us all out in the long run.”
Being a players’ coach, Bounds has enjoyed helping his Lady Cougars progress a month into the season.
“We’ve had our ups and downs,” Bounds said. “But for the most part it’s been a pretty good season.
“We have six seniors this year,” he continued. “It’s pretty good mixture. It’s a mix bag. They’re learning to play with each other. We have to breakdown the team as a whole. That way we won’t have a breakdown or miscommunication between JV or varsity. We’re treating this as an entire team. It’s not JV vs. varsity. I believe in that team building thing. Overall it has a huge effect on how the girls play on the court.”
The six Lady Cougar seniors are Tealiyah Pierce, Sam Hopper, Maddie Rittinger, Hannah Burkhart, Cierra Atkinson and Emma Ping. Those girls worked alongside younger teammates like Jordan Moore to overcome the challenge of Millington.
After taking the opening set in the William Osteen Gymnasium by 13 points, Munford found itself in a seesaw battle in the second set. The Lady Trojans got solid defense from Avery Smith, Kennedy Lamar and Clifton on the back row. Marona was able to adjust and protect the net with a few blocks.
“They are a very talented and scrappy team,” Bounds noted. “They’ve got quite a few girls I know who can play well. Those were the girls we tried to keep the ball away from. On that second set, our communication was a little off. Our hitting was a little bit off. Millington capitalized on it. I wouldn’t expect anything less from them.”
The Lady Cougars were able to escape the second set with a five-point win. Munford closed out the contest by winning 25-12 in the last set.
“Early September, things are moving in the right direction,” Bounds said. “I was just telling the girls we have to work a little bit more with confidence and continuity. We’re heading in the right direction.
“As for October, what I would like to see at the end of the day?” he concluded. “Of course that W. Just like everybody else. As long as the girls when they get out there give me everything they’ve got and they perform and do exactly what we ask of them, I can’t ask for anything more.”