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Coaches attempt to find perfect holiday practice balance

LAUREN WOOD / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Adams County Christian School’s Ryan Strong goes up for a shot against Parklane Academy’s Tucker Adams during Friday’s game. ACCS fell to Parklane 49-34.

NATCHEZ — The high school basketball season is always a tale of two halves with an intermission that includes feasts and a lot of down time during the holidays.

Coaches across the Miss-Lou do their best to combat the holiday season with a mixture of games, practices and rest for their players, but figuring out the best formula is never easy.

“We try to get them in (the gym), but we also want them to enjoy the holiday,” Adams County Christian School boys’ coach Richie Spears said. “We want to have a break from it, because sometimes they need a break, and I need a break too.”

The Rebels (5-10) had stretches of 10 days and seven days over the holiday break where they did not have a game, and Spears said it creates some rust, but the team still has time to get up to speed before the really important district games begin.

“We still have a few games before district,” he said after the team’s loss to Parklane Academy Saturday. “We are getting ready for that. We have to get ready for the second season, and (Parklane) is pretty good, so playing teams like that is helping.”

The Lady Rebels saw the holiday break a little differently. The team has been battling injuries throughout the first half of the season, and the break game the girls some time to get healthier.

“We really didn’t see (the break) as an issue,” head coach Melanie Hall said. “We’ve been battling adversity since before the season started, and the big thing for us at this point is staying healthy and injury free.”

Hall said two players remain out of the Lady Rebel lineup, but she expects junior Maggie Ray to be back this week when ACCS (6-10) travels to face Wilkinson County Christian Academy.

Down the road at Trinity Epsicopal Day School, boys’ head coach Edwin White did everything he could to test his team over the break.

The Saints played tough competition at the Riverfield Tournament, and that prepared the team to face playoff-type competition, White said.

“Those are good teams, and it was good experience if we end up playing teams like Jackson Prep or (Madison-Ridgeland Academy),” White said. “We kind of learned what it would be like to play those teams.”

White said the longest he would let his team go without playing a game is approximately six days.

“I wasn’t going to let that happen,” he said.

The Saints (9-3) will face Cathedral Tuesday.