The Munford Lady Cougars were missing two starters Tuesday night in their district opener at home and junior Brezia Cooper is still easing into her new role as the team’s point guard.
None of that seemed to matter, though, as the Lady Cougars jumped on Ripley early and cruised to a 32-13 win.
“I told our girls if you can just give us great effort on defense the entire game, that’s something we can lean on,” Munford head coach Steve Poindexter said. “Running, talking, blocking out, all that stuff is a choice. We’ll get open looks, but I don’t know if they’ll go in. I hope they do. If you want to do those things we’ll figure out to score.”
Munford’s focus on defense was evident all night. Ripley did not even score in the first quarter and had just one field in the first half.
The Lady Cougars led 8-0 before Ripley scored and put the game completely out of reach in the third quarter when Abby Haun passed to Shea Gooden for an easy bucked and Cooper scored moment later to push the lead to 20-4. Elaina Hawkins, Haun and Cooper each hit 3-pointers early in the fourth to increase the lead.
Munford (6-9 overall, 1-0 district) beat Ripley handily in a December holiday tournament, but the Lady Tigers were missing several key players.
“I watched some film on them, but I didn’t really know what to expect,” Poindexter said. “This is a work in progress. Our message to our girls is we’ve got to grind every day to get better. We’ve only played a couple of games with everybody dressed out. I was happy with their effort tonight.”
Cooper led Munford with 15 points and Haun added seven.
“We felt like if we played good defense the offense would come,” Cooper said.
As far as her new role as point guard, Cooper said she’s adjusting. Last year’s point guard, Maiya Reed, graduated and had been in that role for three seasons.
“I like it,” she said. “It was hard at first because Maiya was such a good point guard, but I think I’m getting the hang of it.”
“Give her some credit because she’s put herselif in an uncomfortable position because she’s not a natural point guard,” Poindexter said. “She just felt like this is what the team needed. At the end of the day she’s going to be better for it. By the end of this year and next year it’s going to pay dividends and she’s going to be better for it.”