COVID has been a foe for every athletic program. The NSA Rebels are dealing with the effects of trying to dress out enough players each game. Co-Head Coach Brenda Cummins had enough players in uniform to take on Marvell Academy on Tuesday. The JV boys narrowly missed out on a win, losing by 10 with three players out.
“I started some that hadn’t started and I was very pleased,” Coach Cummins said. “I think this is their fifth or sixth game and I’ve yet to get a starting five combination. They are small in height but they’ve come a long way. They are scrappy but everybody we play is a good foot taller.”
The NSA varsity boys, down one player to COVID, went into overtime to take a 78-70 conference win.
“We actually won by one – we thought. We were up by one but got called for a foul at the buzzer,” Coach Cummins said. “They hit the second free throw to tie the game and send us to overtime.”
COVID has three varsity boy players out and Cummins moved up three JV players.
“I was really proud of them. Dee Dee Williams had 26 points and he manned that board tonight. He had a bunch of rebounds,” she said.
Other scorers included Brandon Daniels with 24 and JR Washington with 19.
“Daniels played extremely well on defense. They are starting to learn. They had never run a 2-2-1 press and we ran it the entire ballgame,” Coach Cummins said. “I was real tickled over it. It did them some good. They were fired up. They are starting to gel and starting to play together.”
She noted it was good to see “their excitement and finally good to watch them play. They’ve been working hard in practice.”
The teams travel to DeSoto on Friday and then host Tunica on Tuesday January 11.
On the girls side, Coach Anthony Rivera had to deal with one COVID case and his Fab Five needed a sub. He dipped down to the Pee Wee team and brought up sixth grader Kenlea Malone.
“The Fab Five pulled off another one and won by 10 – 39-29,” Coach Rivera said. “The Fab Five moves to 7-2. It’s rough but I like the way they feed off of each other. They know they are all they’ve got.”
Seventh grader Carson Scallion impressed the first year coach with her grit and determination.
“She snatched down like 15 boards and added two points. She got fouled and knocked down free throws,” Coach Rivera said. “Elizabeth Head, one of our freshmen, had 20 rebounds and 10 points. She had a double-double. We worked all break on rebounding and catching the ball in the post. It was amazing. Rihanna Love led the way tonight with 29 points, six boards and eight steals.”
The varsity Lady Rebels fell to 1-9 on the year and 0-3 in conference with the loss to Marvell Academy.
“We’ve got to want it more,” he said. “We’re going to keep working and keep driving them. The only option is to get better.”
Coach Rivera noted that the upcoming games with DeSoto and Tunica will be tough.
“We need to win at least three out of the next four games to make the tournament,” he said. “We’ve got to play our way in.”