After two close contests, Maumelle Coach Rodney Gilmore is hoping the Lady Hornets can use the several contests this week to quit playing scared and start winning games.
Last week, Maumelle (0-2) lost to Mills by five points and last Saturday to Marianna in overtime. The Marianna contest was a game in which the Lady Hornets led but let the pressure get to them.
“Our point guard fouled out, and the press got to us,” Gilmore said. “We also missed 9,000 shots and 18,263 free throws.”
Of course, Gilmore is exaggerating, but wants to make the point that Maumelle needs to take care of the little things. He said the Lady Hornets led by 11 points with 5:24 remaining in the contest. However, that lead was welcome as Marianna was ahead by as many as 15 points in the first half.
“We missed free throws early and got behind,” Gilmore said. “They weren’t really making field goals so we tightened our zone and slowly started getting back in the game. The third quarter is not usually our quarter, but it was that game.”
Because his sophomores aren’t coming along as quickly as he would like, Gilmore made a change at point guard and moved senior Alexis Ellis there. With only three seniors and two juniors, Maumelle is young and less experienced. Gilmore knew that would be his Achilles’ heel, and his goal is to get the younger kids strong enough to handle the game mentally and physically.
“My game plan is to continue to play the sophomores and get their feet in the fire,” he said. “We can’t play scared all the time. With two seniors, they can’t get us going all the time. Fear is not an option.”
Last night, Maumelle hosted Pulaski Academy then participate in the Ortho Arkansas Tournament which runs Thursday through Saturday. Gilmore welcomes the stretch of games and hopes to see all kinds of situations thrown at his girls since conference competition starts next week. The Lady Hornets have either tied or had the lead in their two games but would lose at the end.
“This week is hell week, but it is good a hell week before conference,” he said. “We have been in positions to win, and we have to learn how to win. I hope everybody presses us to death and gets up in our grill until we say enough is enough. Fear is never an option.”