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Summer basketball a ‘work in progress’

Wednesday saw the progress of several area girls basketball teams as well as early looks at three new head coaches at local programs.

Jemison High School hosted a round of “play dates” between several area and regional girls’ high school basketball teams.

The teams played several games throughout the day, each with 16-minute halves and a short halftime period.

The Panthers opened the day with a friendly game against Trinity Presbyterian High School at 9 a.m. It was JHS’s first summer game in a loss against TPHS, but new coach Stacy McGehee, who coached the Jemison boys for the first time last season, said he saw several positive things on the court that should translate to success next season.

“I really didn’t know what to expect today,” he said. “I’m proud of the girls’ effort and the way they hustled. Everyone’s working hard.”

He said the team is using the summer to learn his system.

“They’re getting accustomed to me, and I’m getting accustomed to them,” he said. “It’s a learning curve, but we’ll be ready for the fall.”

JHS lost to Oneonta High School and played Jackson-Olin High School later in the day.

Verbena High School exploded with a convincing victory over Chilton County High School shortly after the JHS morning game.

Marqueska Deramus led the way with a strong presence under the rim both offensively and defensively.

Head coach Jonathan Shedd was also pleased with the progress made by the Lady Devils, who played their third summer game.

“We played a lot better than we did last Thursday, which helped us get ready for CCHS,” Shedd said. “They’re growing and working on little things.”

Most of the girls are playing for Shedd for the first time, which he said takes some getting used to after playing a different system under previous head coach Jennifer Ingram.

“It’s just a work in progress,” he said. “We coach differently. The more we can get down low and take advantage of mismatches, the better off we’ll be. We also need to develop more consistent shooting. We’ll be pretty solid all around.”

CCHS coach Deon Timmons, who took control of head coaching responsibilities this year, said while he’s seen a lot of improvement from his players, there’s plenty more to be made.

“We’re a young team,” Timmons said. “We’ve got some players who need to grow up, step up and play.”

He said the team will need to rely on the play of several veterans. Until the season starts, they will work hard at developing fundamentals. Timmons was not happy about the results of the Verbena loss or the one that followed against Jackson-Olin.

“Overall, I’m a little disappointed, but I’m pleased with the effort.”
CCHS also played Calera High School later in the afternoon.