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Cathedral basketball uses summer camps to progress as a team

Cathedral High School senior Mackenzie Watts takes a shot at Cathedral High School Saturday. (Sam Gause | The Natchez Democrat)
Cathedral High School senior Mackenzie Watts takes a shot at Cathedral High School Saturday. (Sam Gause | The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — With more players to coach than he ever imagined, Cathedral School head girls’ basketball coach Randy Smith felt the best way to see more than 18 girls progress, is to let them play,

Smith said he has seen noticeable progression in his Lady Green Wave since the beginning of the summer, and he credits much of that change to their summer schedule.

Cathedral has participated in two team camps along with workouts within the past two months. And the first showing of good faith of the 2014-15 squad was that a majority of his players consistently showed up to the voluntary camps and workouts.

“This was our first ever summer to do camps,” Smith said. “We didn’t have everybody, but we had a good team.”

Cathedral’s first camp was at Copiah-Lincoln Community College June 13 where they were able to play fives games in two days.

The Lady Wave turned around the following week and headed to an even bigger camp at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.

That’s where Smith found out what his team was made of.

“The difference between the Co-Lin and ULL camp is you can press at ULL,” Smith said. “We immediately learned that rule when we got there, but we got better to where we could handle the press.”

The press was a big problem for Cathedral in the beginning stages of the 2013-14 season, but by the end of the year, they were able to handle the pressure.

Improving their press break in game speed this summer along with having five veteran seniors on the roster gives Smith a good indication of how far they could possibly go.

“We made it to playoffs two years in a row, but our next goal is possibly winning district,” Smith said. “Now that Hinds (Agricultural High School) is gone from our district, we should compete for the district title. But the main thing is getting into the playoffs and making a run.”

The next step for Cathedral, Smith said, is to trust each other as teammates.

“We will do a team building exercise on July 31, where we bring in a professional and go through an outdoor team building experience,” Smith said. “I need to get more trust between my incoming freshman and my seniors.”

This year, the Lady Wave hones five seniors: Carleigh Combs, Mackenzie Watts, McKenzie Milligan, Caroline Smith and Akua Kumi.

With less than a month before the school year starts, Smith said he can continue to progress with his players before hitting the books.