Hopkinsville didn’t get out to the start it wanted to Tuesday night, and Lady Tigers’ head coach Anthony Babb made sure his team knew he wasn’t pleased.
“We came out and we weren’t mentally ready to play,” Babb said. “We weren’t focused, and that isn’t the type of basketball that I want this time of year. I had to put some more people in to get us going. I told everybody that they’ve got to be ready and if you aren’t ready to come right out of the gate as a starter, you’re going to be sitting when I put somebody else in.”
The Lady Tigers responded well. After being tied with Todd County Central at five with six minutes to go in the first half, Hoptown exploded in the final 22 minutes of play to go onto defeat the Lady Rebels, 76-46.
Babb said he wants to see the effort level from his team get higher. With the season nearing its end, he said he needs more effort.
“It’s a team effort and that’s what we’ve got to understand,” he said. “I don’t think it was selfish play, but the effort wasn’t there on both ends. Like sprinting the floor or sliding your feet on defense. At this time of the year, you shouldn’t have to jumpstart that, it should be there.”
The Lady Tigers scored 20 or more points in the final three quarters after putting just five on the scoreboard in the first eight minutes.
Even without a point from leading scorer Donnisha Flowers in the first half, the Lady Tigers took a 29-18 lead into the break.
Flowers found some scoring touch in the second half and was one of four Hopkinsville players in double figures with 11 points.
She needs to settle down and stop rushing her shot,” Babb said of Flowers. “Tonight, everything she shot was rushed. She needs to understand that she is one of the main players that we go to so she can get the ball anytime she wants to if she posts up hard. If she’s playing under control, we’re a better team.”
Jakayla Epps and Lakayla Samuel led the way for the Lady Tigers in the win with 16 points each.
Babb said moving forward into the end of the year and into the postseason, both he and his team need to get fired up early and have that carry into the game.
“I got to be a motivator, but they got to motivate themselves and have fun in the pregame and listen to their music or do whatever they have to do to get hyped,” Babb said. “And then when we go out on the floor, let the referees do their job, let the coaches do their job and they just need to go out and play basketball.”
Hopkinsville 76, Todd County Central 46
HO (13-13) 5 24 23 24 — 76
TC (2-19) 3 15 12 16 — 46
HO: Lakayla Samuel 16, Jakayla Epps 16, Shatera Bellamy 12, Donnisha Flowers 11, Jakiyah Hinton 8, Faith Dansbury 8, Dashiya Radford 3, Aloria Moyd 2.
TC: Shelby Johnson 10, Emani Fort 8, Jordan Weathers 6, Abby Williams 6, Alexis Taylor 5, Emma Harris 3, Lucy Chester 3, Ciara Collins 3, Jayla Leavell 2.