The Lady Hilltoppers have made a pretty nice start to the season, posting a 6-1 record through November, but their coaches know how deceptive the early season can be.
Girl’s coach, Vernessa Gates, is pleased with the effort to kick off the season but is not ready to let them rest on their laurels.
“Our free throws and turnovers need work,” Gates said. “When you get to the district games, you’ve got to have those.”
Gates does see positive aspects in her team this year, many based on the maturity level of the players. She is carrying six seniors who have played together through the lean years and now seem to be ready to take things to the next level.
“It’s their attitudes,” Gates said. “It’s taking all 16 on the team to win. Their desire to win is more intense than in the past.”
The team has dedicated their season to senior Keria McPherson who is out with a torn ACL and Gates said their focus has made an impression on her and the rest of the coaching staff.
“At this point, all five of the coaches are satisfied with what we see,” Gates said. “Their confidence level is up.”
The Hilltoppers have had a slower start out of the gate than the girls, but coach Orlando Randle sees positive motion on their side of the floor as well. After coming off losses to South Pontotoc, Pontotoc and Houlka, the Toppers rebounded to win 63-54 over Bruce just before the holiday break.
“The boys are making progress with every practice and every game,” Randle said. “They are responding well to both the losses and the win. We are excited about the rest of our season and look forward to the upcoming challenges.”
Wrapping up 2013
The Toppers and Lady Toppers were scheduled to host East Webster Tuesday and their Friday game against Calhoun City is cancelled due to the Wildcats playing in the football State Championship game.
They will face Okolona and Houlka next week and West Point Dec. 17 before heading to the McAdams tourament the weekend after Christmas.
On returning after the holiday break, they will host the Calhoun/Chickasaw tournament and break division in Caledonia Jan. 10.