High hopes entering area play

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 10, 2019

The season hasn’t necessarily started the way the Straughn Lady Tigers had hoped, but they are looking to get on track as area action begins to heat up.

“This is my first year with the girls,” Lady Tigers’ head coach Bradley Stephens said. “Anytime you bring in a new coach there is going to be an adjustment period. I think the girls are starting to get used me and I’m getting used to them.”

The group has continued to improve as the season progresses, Stephens said.

“The biggest thing I’ve seen from them is how much they have improved,” Stephens said. “That’s what I’m looking for this year. I want to see how they handle the ebb and flow of a season together. I’ve been pleased with the girls’ abilities to understand the level of intensity that needs to be given. Right now, we are a beat and banged up so we are just plugging along until we get some of the girls back. We just want to continue to improve with each game.”

Stephens said that team doesn’t have a single senior on the roster.

“It’s almost the opposite of my boys’ team that is loaded with seniors,” Stephens said. “I don’t have any seniors on the girls’ team. The future is bright for these girls. These girls come in every day committed to working hard. They continue to improve every practice and every game.”

Stephens said he has been impressed with the girls so far this year.

“I think the thing that has impressed the most from them is their resiliency,” Stephens said. “They are very resilient and want to get better. They come every day ready to practice. Every team goes through ups and downs, but if you aren’t careful when you hit those downs it can keep going down. These girls haven’t let that happen. They keep plugging away and keep pushing through.”

Going forward with the rest of the year, Stephens said there are areas that they still have to improve.

“We put up good points the other night against Opp,” Stephens said. “That’s a focus of ours as we get into area play. We want to score more points and tone up our defense. We have to move the ball more and get more players involved. Coaching girls has been a new experience for me. It’s physically a lot of work to coach both, but it has truly been a blessing to be a part of this.”