Lady Hounds’ wins makes coaching transition easier

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 8, 2002

NATCHEZ &045; It’s hard to believe that Huntington’s girls are going through a coaching transition currently.

Watching them physically outplay Adams Christian on the Lady Rebels’ home court Saturday in a 42-34 win you’d think Michael McAnally has been on the sideline all season.

After struggling out of the gate the Lady Hounds (7-4) have regrouped under McAnally with Penny Moak sitting out the year recovering from an illness.

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&uot;I think they’re getting more confidence with me each day,&uot; said McAnally, who is the boys’ coach too. &uot;It’s a great opportunity for me and a great group to work with. We’re still going through the adjustment period.&uot;

Adjusting was hardly the word to use Saturday as Huntington jumped out to an early lead and withstood a late Lady Rebels’ charge.

ACCS (7-3) would cut the deficit to two with a couple of quick buckets from Anna McLemore to open the fourth period.

But the Lady Hounds surged back ahead on an 11-2 run to put the game away late.

&uot;We couldn’t get over the hump,&uot; ACCS head coach Bruce Pickle said. &uot;We’d get to the top and fall right back down.&uot;

Emily Hazlip led all scorers with 20 as Huntington put the game away late by hitting five of six free throws.

&uot;We’re going to pound it and pound it into (Hazlip) until somebody stops us,&uot; McAnally said. &uot;Plus she’s left handed so that adds a different element to her game.&uot;

ACCS fell behind the eight ball early when it allowed the Lady Hounds to penetrate into the paint and dominate on the glass.

Huntington led 13-2 with a little less than a minute to play in the opening period before the Lady Rebels fought to cut into the lead 18-9 before the horn sounded.

&uot;It was not a very good night for us,&uot; Pickle said. &uot;We didn’t have the intensity I was looking for. We have to find it from somewhere.&uot;

The Lady Rebels were without starter Nikki Hankins Saturday. Hankins is nursing a sprained ankle she suffered in Tuesday’s win over WCCA.

McLemore led ACCS with 11 points, but the Lady Rebels severely missed Hankins outside shooting accuracy.

&uot;Someone has to step up while Nikki is out,&uot; Pickle said. &uot;If we are going to compete in district these girls need to step up.&uot;

ACCS cut into the Lady Hounds’ lead before the break, despite Huntington’s ability to get the ball inside to Hazlip and Erin Hedrick, who finished with seven points.

McAnally may be new to managing the Lady Hounds, but his eye for personnel is wide open.

He sees the mismatches on the court very well and does a good job to exploit them.

&uot;We talked before the game about being aggressive,&uot; he said. &uot;We’ve got some real athletic girls here and we should use that to our advantage.&uot;

Coming out of intermission with a six-point lead, Huntington traded blows with ACCS for most of the third.

The Lady Hounds eventually built a nine-point lead, but April Boyd’s 3-pointer with 12 seconds left in the period cut it back to a half-dozen.

McLemore would get AC close, but a heavy dose of Hazlip and Huntington on the boards sealed the win.

&uot;They absolutely killed us on the glass,&uot; Pickle said. &uot;We’ve got to learn that rebounding is all desire.&uot;

McAnally said he was a little disappointed with the lapse his team sank into in the second and third periods, but happy with the way they circled the wagons.

&uot;It can be tough to come here and play in a place like this,&uot; McAnally said. &uot;I was pleased with their poised. That should help us down the line.&uot;