HomeSchoolsLady Bruins learning, improving from tough early matchups

Lady Bruins learning, improving from tough early matchups

It was at the Dynamix Hoopfest earlier this month when University School of Jackson’s girls’ basketball team played a marquee matchup against Rossville Christian Academy.

RCA was in the TSSAA a few years back and was in the same Division II-A district with the Lady Bruins but has since become an independent school.

Rossville has a prolific squad this year with a lot of size and skill that USJ wanted to play to get better, and head coach Joel Ayers is grateful for those opportunities.

“You want to schedule tough matchups early on like this so that you’re tested when you get to district play later in the season,” Ayers said. “They had some dynamic players that really pushed us and made us make adjustments, and I think we got better from it.”

The Lady Bruins fell to RCA 63-62 in overtime in a game that USJ trailed most of the game but were never far behind. They led on a few occasions in the second quarter, late in the fourth quarter and in the extra period before ultimately falling short at the end.

They had a similar experience this past weekend in Missouri against Nixa High School in which they trailed before mounting a second-half comeback before falling short 49-46.

Ayers said after the Rossville Christian loss he hopes his players learn from such experiences.

“We’re trying to figure out how to guard dynamic players who can make shots like they made tonight,” Ayers said. “There’s just a wide variety of things we’re trying to get better at, so this helps us do that.”

With Rossville Christian, it was playing against a bigger team. But as the game wore on, it was also a lesson in trying to play competitively but doing so while having key players in foul trouble.

Standouts Carley Hays and Ava Barham fouled out in this game, while Stella Spencer was on the brink, ending the game with four fouls.

“They’re players you wouldn’t trade for,” Ayers said. “It’s learning about not just learning how to do the things they can do that help our team, but knowing when and where to do them.

“If you’re a post, and you’re a foot from the basket and a bigger player is right behind you to take away your explosiveness, then maybe we need you to post up 10 or 15 feet from the basket and use your explosiveness out there. Those are the lessons this team is learning, and we’re getting there. I’m excited to see what we can do when we get into district play.”

Brandon Shields,

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