New Manchester coach Vincent Parks walked away from Saturday’s scrimmage at Lithia Springs realizing that his team must play defense if it wants to compete for another state berth this season.
The Jaguars defeated Lithia Springs 49-31 as tune-up for next week’s season-opener on the road at McIntosh.
“One major thing I know is that we will have to play better defense across the board,” Parks said. “We got to play better man-to-man defense. We have to do a better job of realizing when and where to help on defense, but I’m not totally surprised since we had four or five freshmen to play. We are definitely a work in progress.”
The Jaguars were also without last season’s returning scorer in Anaya Cone, who sat out the game with a back injury. Last season, the junior 8.9 points to help lead the team to a runner-up finish during the Region 5-AAAAAA tournament.
With Cone out, the Jaguars were led by point guard Ja’Lisya Glover, who had 14 points. Kyndall Golden scored 13 points and Makaila Cange added 10 points.
“We had so many new players out there,” Parks said. “I thought we played pretty decent. I expect a lot out of our returning players. I thought for the most part they played well.”
Last season, New Manchester reached the state tournament for the first time in school history. With several returning players, the Jaguars figure to challenge for another playoff berth.
Lithia Springs, which finished as Region 6-AAAAA runner-up and advanced to the second round of the state tournament, was led by Demeara Hinds’ 14 points.
Lions coach David Mills said he thought the team played much better in the second half of the game.
“The first half I thought we would be nervous with a lot of young players,” he said. “I think we will be find as long as we keep working hard and progressing.”
Glover is also look for the Jaguars to continue to get better.
“We did some good things, and you are always happy with a win,” Glover said. “We are still progressing and working hard. Intensity wise there was a little let down with some young players. It was the first game, so we will get better. We just going to take each game week by week because we have some talent. We just have to play to our ability.”