Though the Rockets are off to an 0-4 start, they are scoring more points thus far averaging 27 points per game.
The story below was written for The Titusville News-Journal
“We want to be competitive,” said Titusville girls basketball coach Tom Jones Saturday night after his team was just that despite two opening season losses at the Roy Sanner Tio-Off Tournament in Rocky Grove.
His team had just scored 39 points in the consolation game against Rocky Grove.
Last season the Rockets had several games they didn’t break 20 points in a game and only managed three wins on the season.
“We have quite a few younger players with freshmen and sophomores starting,” Jones said of his team early on in the season thusfar. “We have a couple senior leaders, a couple juniors who get significant minutes. The starting lineup isn’t set yet.”
Jones said he’s looking for the team to learn playing faster paced in order to compete.
Many of his young players have only had junior varsity experience to this point. These early varsity games are big in getting them prepared.
“It’s a learning process for those freshman and those sophomores who played most JV last yearto kid of gel together with some of the (more experience) older girls,” Jones said. “They’re working hard.
Averaging 33 points in the first two games does show a marked improvement over last year. With their loss to a very good Franklin team on Monday they are still averaging nearly 26 points a game.
Jones talks about the need for his team to get acclimated to the faster paced varsity games.
“They struggle to be patient, sometimes we’re forcing it when we don’t have the numbers.”
Jones says those are things, along with getting more physical, that they are working on. “We’re fighting to become a better rebounding team. They’re not comfortable with that yet.”
In their scrimmages they played very well but the level of play wasn’t as intense as the tournament.
Jones was pleased with his team’s effort in the tournament despite adjusting to more intensity.
“In both games we were competitive until the end,” he said. Despite losing by ten in both the games were closer down the stretch. “Last year many of our games were running clock (when a team is so far ahead they don’t stop the clock for out of bounds or fouls.) This year we want to be able to compete in every game.”
Jones says the team needs are getting used to the pace and physicality. He credits his many multi-sports athletes as be ready for the task.
Kacey Krepps, one of the softball star players, is a very good athlete and strong player, though only in her second year as a basketball player.
Jones said that she is playing very hard and the more experience she gets, her athleticism should help her improve.
One of the rocket star soccer players is someone Jones said is standing out as well. “Addie Burleigh has been doing a great job in practice playing very hard. She improves every day. She’s a great athlete with great speed.”
He has a freshman Molly Covell playing point guard who he says is doing very well.
“It’s a huge learning curve to put a freshman into that position and so she is making strides everyday.”
One of his juniors played well enough over the weekend to be named to the all-tournament team and is stepping up as a team leader.
Abbie Collie is bringing a lot of composure and calmness to the team and not letting the speed of the game or fatigue dictate her decisions.”
Going forward Jones says they’ll continue working on patience and not rushing shots . “We were probably taking our shot on the first or second pass(this weekend).” This is something he will emphasize in practice and during timeouts he said. “The Girls will learn.”
Jones is happy with the support the team gets from administration and parents and sees good things happening in the youth leagues coming up.
They have 14 players this year and his younger players are a result of getting a fifth and sixth grade team going a few years back and building numbers.
“We’re working on getting them started even younger with the feeder programs,” he said.
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