Seeking Consistency: Lionettes regroup, fine-tune with week off
With their season a little more than halfway over, the McKinney girls basketball team is using this rare weekend off to fine-tune various areas of concern.
"I think we're still trying to figure out what our strengths are," said Debbie Harris, McKinney head coach. "I would say we need more consistency when it comes to several areas, including scoring. It's a confidence issue. One of our jobs as coaches is to make our kids believe in themselves. That comes in small victories."
At 9-9, the Lionettes have alternated between wins and losses for much of the season. With a week between games, Harris is using this time to stress not only the need for gradual improvement, but also the need for urgency as the Lionettes have only a handful of games remaining before their district opener Jan. 4 against Plano Senior.
"Sometimes I'm more disappointed after a win than a loss based on how we played," she said. "I'm more concerned about whether we're meeting our goals as a program. Ultimately if you meet your goals you're going to win more than you lose. Sometimes you can play poorly and win, but we can't play poorly and win games once district starts and that's the main point."
Offensively, the Lionettes have been led by junior guard Mariah Mitchell.
"Mariah has been a key player for us," Harris said. "She's got a lot of talent. She's central to what we do on the offensive end. From a scoring standpoint our team kind of goes the way she goes."
Another central figure on the court this season for the Lionettes is junior guard Jazsmin Nelson.
"Jazsmin has been the backbone of our team," Harris said. "She's a silent leader. She comes everyday in practice and does her job on both ends of the court. She's well-respected by her teammates. She's one of those players that is very consistent."
Guard Nicole Quincy has contributed a lot for the team as well, particularly in the area of senior leadership.
"Nicole brings a lot to the table," Harris said. "She anticipates very well. She's often been in the right place at the right time. She communicates well with her teammates and is a great senior leader."
Harris said the team's chemistry has been its greatest strength this season.
"We have had some good moments and it's given our kids some confidence and we're just going to try to keep building on it," she said. "I think it's been great. Every time we step onto the court there's a chance we're the underdog. We're out-sized, out-manned, out-numbered. We just try to focus on ourselves and our kids play together and trust each other. They've accomplished a lot."
Although their first half of the season hasn't gone as smoothly as they had hoped, Harris is encouraged by her players' resiliency.
"The fact that they've kept their head up and are willing to compete says a lot," she said. "They're not getting down. We've played a tough schedule and a lot of games and they're remaining mentally tough. They're doing a good job of embracing that."
McKinney's last game was a Dec. 11 loss against Marcus. The Lionettes' next game is slated for Tuesday on the road against Coppell. Harris is thankful for the week off to not only game plan for Coppell, but shore up any general concerns she has for the team as a whole.
"We're tweaking everything we're doing on the offensive end and the defensive end," she said. "Our focus is getting better ourselves and not focusing on what everybody else is going to do."
As for upcoming opponent, Harris sees a lot of similarity between Coppell and her squad.
"We're actually pretty similar in terms of what our strengths and our weaknesses are," she said. "They have a little bit more size in their post game and I think our guards are bigger than theirs and I think we can pressure the basketball a little bit longer than they can. We're going to have to play well for four quarters, but I think it will be a good matchup."