Waynesville Coach Brittany Matlock referred to Monday's 60-38 home loss to Sullivan as "The Tale of Two Halves."
Again turnovers plagued the Waynesville offense – the Lady Tigers committed 26 of them – and generated more than 20 points for opposing Sullivan. Although 11 of the team's total turnovers came in the first half, Waynesville's girls played the best half of the season.
After outlasting an opponent in the opening period for the first time all season, Matlock was pleased with her team's first quarter effort.
"We did a good job taking care of the ball [in the first half]," she said. "We were pretty aggressive on offense and played better team defense."
The 13-12 first quarter lead came in a see-saw first half that saw two ties and six lead changes before Sullivan nailed a three-pointer to take a 27-20 lead into halftime.
Matlock referenced promising "moments" that occurred in the second half, but those incidents of triumph were overwhelmed by two quarters' worth of mistakes.
"We started turning the ball over, then they get lay-ups," the coach said. "We got our head[s] down and didn't respond and help each other out on the defensive end."
The bottom line: Sullivan was "more aggressive on offense," according to Matlock.
Despite solid passing and ball-handling by senior point guard Dorothy Adams, Waynesville never could find an offensive rhythm to counteract Sullivan's efforts. Lady Tigers players often seem lost during offensive possessions and find themselves in the same areas while trying to make passes, making it easier for opponents to double-team.
Adams finished with 6 points and 4 assists and was one of the bright spots on a team that has now lost four-straight.
"[Adams] has done a much better job and...hopefully we can continue to build on that and get her some help when she is getting double-teamed," Matlock said. Two of Adams' assists came after the senior stepped through a double team to find an open teammate.
It will take a total team effort for Waynesville to turn this abysmal start into something that resembles last season's conference championship team. For that to happen, Matlock said her core players will need to "get everybody on board."
While this group of girls is certainly a team of friends off the court, it doesn't always show teamwork in game situations.
Matlock said her student-athletes must learn to handle opponents' full court pressure and play aggressively as a team on both offense and defense. Those things come with practice repetitions.
There were several fast break instances where Waynesville players were alone in the front court but stopped to make a pass instead of scoring an easy bucket.
Page 2 of 2 - In addition, Sullivan shot 56 percent from the floor and committed nine fewer turnovers (17) than Waynesville.
"We have to do a better job defensively," Matlock said. "[Sullivan was] 6-of-10 from the three-point line and I don't think we were within a foot on any of them."
Waynesville senior Hannah Finger led her team with 9 points and 7 rebounds. Defensively, Hannah Bland, junior, added 4 steals to her 8 points.
The junior varsity Lady Tigers fell 49-28.
As the Lady Tigers prepare for a road game at St. Clair on Friday at 6 p.m., simple fundamentals – dribbling, passing, rebounding and defense – will be the focus again this week at Waynesville's practices.
According to MaxPreps.com, St. Clair currently boasts an undefeated record of 3-0. It has outscored opponents by a total of 51 points in its three wins. St. Clair has also held opponents to less than 40 points twice, and allowed only 43 points in its closest game.