The wins may not be coming as he would like, but J.Z. George head coach Torrey Dale is enthused by the improvement his girls and boys basketball teams have made this season.
"I've seen a difference in both of these teams. We are making the other teams in our district show up to play. I've seen progress from both teams. We are playing pretty well for three quarters, but we've got to learn how to finish games and put teams away when we have them down," said Dale, who is in his first year at the helm of both teams.
The Lady Jaguars and Jaguars both went 0-2 in Region 3-3A contests last week. They started the last week of the regular season Tuesday night at home against region foe Amanda Elzy, and they hit the road to take on Ruleville Central Friday night. The Region 3 Tournament is the week of Feb. 12-15 at Yazoo County High School.
The Lady Jags are 2-22 overall and 0-8 in the region after losing games to Humphreys County, 63-47, last Friday, and to Charleston by a score of 44-42 on Jan. 29.
J.Z. George played well in the first half against Humphreys, holding leads of 16-10 after the first quarter and 29-25 at the half. The Cowgirls came out in the third period and outscored the Lady Jags 20-10 for a 45-39 lead headed to the fourth quarter. Humphreys put the game away with an 18-8 run in the final eight minutes.
Tashanda Fleming and Dekeria Walls led the Lady Jags with 13 points each. Tyeshia Grant had 12, and Natajah Basin tallied six points.
In their game against Charleston, they jumped out to a commanding 17-9 lead after the first eight minutes. However, the visiting Lady Tigers held scoring advantages of 12-6 in the second frame and 18-8 in the third for a 39-31 lead headed to the final frame. The Lady Jags battled back for an 11-5 scoring advantage to make it a close contest in the end.
"These girls want people to respect the Lady Jags. It's like the lights have come on for them recently. They are battling these teams in our district," said Dale.
The Jaguars played extremely well last Friday in a 77-74 loss to the Cowboys. J.Z. George (6-17 overall, 1-7 in region) led 17-11 after the first period, 35-32 at the half and 54-48 after the third quarter. Humphreys County stormed back to outscore the Jags 29-20 to grab the win in Belzoni.
Malik Branch had 24 points, while Kendrick Glover had 15 points. Caesa Glenn tacked on 12, and Devontae Smith finished with seven points.
Against Charleston, the Tigers raced out to a 19-11 cushion after the first period en route to an 84-57 victory. The Tigers led 40-25 at the half and 63-40 after the third period.
Smith led the Jaguars with 17 points. Branch tacked on 16, and Brandon Watt had seven points.