New Manchester traveled to Pebblebrook on Saturday for a non-region game. It was evident early that both teams were struggling from the long layoff do to the holidays. Pebblebrook would pull away late in the game to defeated the visiting Lady Jaguars, 42-24.
“We both started out extremely slow, with poor shooting on both ends of the floor,” said NMHS coach Vincent Parks. “The biggest factor in the outcome of the game was their size. They out-rebounded us in all four quarters.”
Pebblebrook took an 8-0 lead in the first quarter and led 16-8 at the half.
“The majority of Pebblebrook’s shots came on put-backs. We continually gave them 2-3-4 shots per trip and you can not do that and be very successful,” Parks said.
The third quarter ended with Hew Manchester down, 27-17. Still down by a few in the fourth quarter, the Jaguars were forced to go small to try and press, but the team had to scramble so much that the players began to get tired.
“The longer the game went, the more they were able to score on put-backs,” Parks said. “For us, not having played in two weeks, that was part of the shooting problems, but blocking out is just effort. We have to do the fundamentals.”
Shemyah Wilson and Deshauna Smith scored eight points each for the Lady Jaguars.
“All my guards played well, we just have to be more productive on the inside,” Parks said. “We have to do a better job of rebounding and protecting the rim. I was disappointed with our inside game.”
The Jaguars are competing in the 5-AAAAA region, a region that has been infused with a host of local talent. Four Douglas County teams are competing against each other in the region this year, New Manchester, Lithia Springs, Alexander and Chapel Hill. Parks sees the local games as a good chance to judge where his team stands.
“Anytime you play another county team, it should be viewed as a big deal,” Parks said. “These games help us develop.”
Overall, Parks sees Hiram as the frontrunner of the region, but has everyone else in contention.
“For me, I would like us to finish at .500 or above. I think the experience we gained last year will help and I will be disappointed if we don’t meet this goal.
Parks added that the team has worked hard early on. They also gained strength in the weight room over the summer.
“I think the community is surprised with our improved play,” Parks said. “We have done a lot of work and become a closer nit team. I am excited about what we have.”