Following a 17-day layoff, the Lady Wildcats struggled to get out of their own way Tuesday night against Jeff Davis County, committing 36 turnovers to just seven assists in a blowout loss.
Columbia (4-9, 0-1) played Jeff Davis close through the first quarter, trailing just 17-13, but were outscored by 24 points in the second and third quarters combined in a 68-38 loss.
Head coach Charlie James said he talked to the Lady Wildcats after the game and told them everyone would need to get more involved handling the ball to take pressure off of Jasmine Sheppard. The junior point guard was harassed by the Lady Jaguars’ full-court press and committed 10 turnovers.
“You can’t do that with a team that is forcing you to play up-tempo. You need multiple people who are willing to handle the ball as well as catching it,” he said. “Also playing a team like that when you get a look at the bucket you have to capitalize. That’s what their pressure is designed for — to get you to speed your game up and miss those shots where they get runouts. If you make those shots, it changes the whole psyche of the game.”
Aniyah Fortenberry was Columbia’s lone source of productive offense with 11 points on 80% shooting, while Sheppard had eight points, five rebounds and five assists.
While there is no real way to prepare for a team’s full-court pressure like Jeff Davis County’s in a game environment, James said in the past he’s had the Lady Wildcats scrimmage against the junior varsity boys to give them a better look at the speed a team like Jeff Davis possesses.
He said they did it earlier in the season and will likely do it again soon.
Columbia has a key stretch ahead after playing Our Lady Academy (0-12, 0-2) on the road Friday night (results unavailable) with home games against Tylertown (7-2, 2-0) Tuesday, Seminary (7-6, 2-0) Friday and West Marion (7-6, 1-2) Jan. 21.
“One of the things I would like us to do is protect our home court, first and foremost,” James said. “The main thing is we have to be able to put together a consistent 32 minutes. We’ve done it a few times when we’ve played 20-25 minutes of good basketball, but we need to have a complete game. That’s going to be the key.”
James said he doesn’t know if it’s stamina that’s kept Columbia from playing well for four quarters or something else but that the Lady Wildcats need to figure it out.
Pictured Above: Columbia's Jasmine Sheppard brings the ball up the floor against JDC Tuesday. | Photo by Charlie Smith