New Manchester is expecting a different caliber of Mays team when the two meet on Friday in a Region 5-AAAAAA contest.
Likewise, Mays should see a different Jaguars team than the won that won 67-50 earlier this season in November.
Junior Anaya Cone has returned to the Jaguars’ team after missing the first two months while recovering from a back injury. Last season Cone led the team with an 8.9 scoring average and was second with 4.4 rebounds per game.
“It definitely feels good to be back on the court,” Cone said after Tuesday’s practice. “I know I have to take it slow but that’s sort of hard for me. I just have to practice on being patience and not trying to do too much.”
The Jaguars played well during the first part of the season without one of its main components from last season’s region runner-up to team. Coming into Friday’s game at Mays, the Jaguars are 9-3 overall and 4-1 in the region.
There only loss in the region was 41-36 at two-time defending region champion Douglas County on Dec. 16. The Jaguars get a return game on Jan. 13 at their home court.
But up first is Friday’s meeting with Mays.
“We already knew that they were going to be better,” New Manchester coach Vincent Parks said. “We know they are going to press. If we do what we are supposed to do and handle the ball, we should be in good shape. We had some issues during our tournament with turnovers and protecting the ball. We just need to go out and perform.”
Mays returned from a West Coast trip over the Christmas break. The Raider went 1-3 during that swing and now has a 3-7 overall record and 2-2 in the region.
But the Jaguars are expecting a battle.
“The mission stays the same for us,” New Manchester senior point guard Ja’ Lisya Glover said. “I have confidence in what we can do as a team.”
Glover said the addition of Cone will help the team.
“It definitely helps, she just has to get some work in to get back into shape,” Glover said. “Once she gets fully back, we will be ability to use the best of her ability to help this team.”