Growing pains hinder Lady Jags in 60-29 loss against Walnut Grove

Lady Jags basketball head coach Takesha Wall knew this season would be difficult. After graduating six players after last season, the team is young and inexperienced. Led by senior Laniya Faust, the Lady Jags lost to the Walnut Grove Warriors 60-29 on Friday night. 

“Basketball has a long season. We knew we would have some growing pains and hiccups,” Wall said.

The Lady Jags drew six fouls in the first quarter, allowing the Warriors to go on a long scoring run. After a layup from junior Giselle Maxwell, the Lady Jags found themselves down 17-2 midway through the first quarter. 

“We knew going in that (Walnut Grove’s) number 11 (Cameria Reed) was going to drive a lot. We didn’t do the little things like moving our feet and sliding into position against her, and it put us in foul trouble,” Wall said.

Entering the second quarter, Walnut Grove took a more defensive approach. The Warriors often dropped back four of their players during free throws, slowing the fast-break-oriented Jaguar offense. With many turnovers and missed shots, the Lady Jags couldn’t do much in the second quarter, but showed improvement, entering halftime down 37-17. 

“We tried to push the ball a lot, but we couldn’t control the ball,” Wall said. “There’s a difference between playing fast and playing fast under control.”

On defense, the Lady Jags struggled to stay organized, leaving space for the Warriors to create plenty of chances. 

“We didn’t talk enough,” Wall said. “As a coach, you can’t go over every situation, but sometimes you have to trust (your players), and unfortunately the communication didn’t work in some of those situations.”

Late in the second half, the Lady Jags began to find a groove, forcing turnovers and creating fast breaks during transitions. Though it wasn’t enough to pull out a late win, Wall sees improvement in her squad. 

“Each game we get better with the little things that we practice a lot,” Wall said. Unless you’re in a gym with us every day, you’re not going to see those improvements. But as coaches, we know, ‘Hey, we’re now doing this in our fast break. ‘Hey, we’re now doing this in our defensive transition.’ It’s not moving as fast as I would like, but we are starting to see those small steps.”

The Lady Jags have four games in the upcoming week, starting with Jackson County (Dec. 9) before traveling to North Hall (Dec. 12), and Seckinger (Dec. 15). The week ends with the annual Classic City Championship, as the Lady Jags host crosstown rivals Clarke Central on Dec. 16 at 2:00 p.m.. Tickets are available on GoFan.

Ethan Greene

Senior Ethan Greene is the Sports editor for Cedar BluePrints this year. He runs an Instagram photography account, attends car races, and writes about sports for BluePrints. He enjoys being able to work alongside his friends and the opportunity to get a more thorough analysis of sports.

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