Tigerettes build for the future

Wednesday, December 14, 2011
The 2011-2012 Marshall County High School Tigerettes front from left, Tyesha Kinnard (manager) # 5 Machala Hopkins (Fr.), #32 Mecia Reed (Fr.), #12 Kelsey Tears (Sr.), #11 Joslyn Scarfone (So.), # 4 Destiny Moore (Jr.), and managers Aleah McLean and Justice Giacomo. Back row from left, Head Coach David Junkins, #21 Kemesha McFall (Fr.), #42 Megan Sanders (Jr.), # 30 Jameka Braden (So.), #44 Marissa Lyttle (Jr.), # 33 Christy Pettigrew (Fr.), # 3 Morgan Moyers (Jr.), and assistant coach Mark Redferrin. Not pictured, assistant coach Jerrie Henry. Photo by Lifetouch

It is not easy being a Tigerette head coach, especially when the wins and losses are hard to come by as in recent years, but this is exactly where second year head coach David Junkins wants to be and he relishes the challenge of living up to the lore of the past.

"I came here because I wanted to be around that," said Junkins. "There is a huge set of shoes to fill, but that is why I came here because these girls expect to win and their parents expect them to win. They know what hard work is, their parents know what hard work is, so when we come in and be demanding in practice, the girls just know that is the way it should be and that is the way it is supposed to be."

Marshall County's last state title seems like a thousand miles away to many, coming in the magical 2007-2008 season when the Tigerettes posted a 32-4 record, winning fourteen games in a row to end the season, capturing the gold ball for the fourth time.

After the title tilt, head coach David Steely retired, citing personal reasons and the reigns were handed to his longtime assistant Boyd West, who guided the Tigerettes to thirty consecutive wins before they were shocked by Hume-Fogg in the second round of the Region 5AA Tournament at Spring Hill.

Early the following year, West resigned and his assistant and ex-Tigerette great Jerrie Henry took over and did a fantastic job, finishing 12-8 after West's departure, including a four-game, three-game, and a two-game winning streak.

Henry guided the squad to two out of three wins in the District 12AA Tournament before losing in the first round of the region tournament.

Junkins came over from East Hickman last season and the Tigerettes struggled as they went 12-18 and lost in the first round of the district tournament.

"Last year I thought we would be a little better than what we ended up as far as wins and losses," said Junkins. "The loss in the first round of the district tournament against Hickman County was detrimental, but we have to overcome that."

This season, Junkins feels a lot better about the squad, especially with the amount of young talent on the varsity squad and at LMS.

"Coming in this year we knew our personal a lot better. I had been familiar with our middle school and Coach Coleman (Chris) and what he had done and had the full summer to work with," said Junkins. "It has made it a little easier, even though we have kind of started over again after graduating several kids."

What Junkins does have is the building blocks of what could be a very good team in the near future.

The Tigerettes are very young, starting three freshmen at times this season.

2010-2011 Miss LMS Mecia Reed, Christy Pettigrew, and the "Glove's" (Danica Hopkins) little sister Machala Hopkins have all started for Junkins early in the current campaign.

"Mecia for a freshman is very physically mature," said Junkins. "She works hard in practice to make it better every time she touches the ball. Right now we are just teaching her to patient, just take care of the ball, contribute a few points a game and that would be wonderful."

The talented sophomore Jameka Braden has had to grow up early, leading the squad in scoring and minutes on the floor, while displaying great athleticism and leadership.

"She wants to be the leader," said Junkins. "A lot of people watch her play and say, she is really good for a junior and I have to tell them, she is only a sophomore. She has the size and athleticism to be a special player and now she just has to put the work in and get her mind together with her body and she will be very good."

Junior Destiny Moore, who has more moves than Elvis, came on strong at the end of last season before being sideline with the flu and Junkins just smiles when he thinks about number four.

"Sometimes if she would just make the simple shot it would be better," said Junkins. "She will ooh and ahh the crowd sometimes and sometimes that is good and sometimes that is bad, but we know she will figure it out. She is a hard worker also and when she figures out what she can and can't do, she will set people on fire, just like last year when she caught fire in December and January."

Solid, but not flashy is Morgan Moyers, who Junkins said about, "Morgan is our most consistent player by far. She has the lowest amount of turnovers and her shooting percentage is unbelievable. Sometimes we would like her to shoot more than she does. Defensively, we knew she was a decent defender last year and now she is so mentally tough, we put her on the opposing team's best guard."

In the all-important post-position is Marissa Lyttle, who has worked hard in the summer and has shown flashes of solid play in the pivot.

"To be really truly successful, we are going to have to have that post presence," said Junkins.

"Marissa worked extremely hard this spring on her own in AAU in the club system and got a lot of confidence from that. She was a presence and she gained a lot of confidence from that and as she gets her court shoes under her, she will do nothing but get better."

Another junior Megan Sanders has shown great improvement from last year and is the offensive specialist off the bench for Junkins.

"She is that player for us," said Junkins. "We hope she can get a little better defensively, but we know when she gets on the court and is open, she will hit that shot. In the summer there were some games where she scored 12 or 13 points and we know that will happen for her this year too."

All four of the Tigerettes' titles have come in the leap years of 1972, 1976, 1982, and 2008 with the next one right around the corner in 2012 when the current calendar expires.

It may be asking way too much for the streak to continue, but Junkins is optimistic saying, "The future is bright. We will have everybody back next year and we will grab a bunch of freshmen from Coach Coleman. When we add those kids in to what we already have, it will make us that much better."

2011 MCHS Schedule

Date Opponent Location
Nov. 15 Sycamore (Hall of Fame) Away
Nov. 17 Shelbyville (Hall of Fame) Away
Nov. 21 Columbia Central Home
Nov. 23 Forrest Tournament vs. Cascade
Nov. 25 Forrest Tournament vs. Creekwood
Nov. 26 Forrest Tournament vs. Lincoln Co
Nov. 29 Giles County Away
Dec. 2 East Hickman Home
Dec. 3 Lawrence Co. Away
Dec. 6 Lewis Co. Home
Dec. 9 Summit Away
Dec. 13 Page Away
Dec. 16 Fairview Home
Dec. 17 Lincoln Co. Away
Dec. 20 East Literature Holiday Classic vs. Smyrna
Dec. 22 East Literature Holiday Classic vs. McGavock
Dec. 29 Richland Classic (boys only)
Dec. 30 Richland Classic (boys only)
Jan. 3 Spring Hill Away
Jan. 6 Hickman Co. Home
Jan. 13 Giles Co. Home
Jan. 17 East Hickman Away
Jan. 20 Lewis Co. Away
Jan. 24 Summit Home
Jan. 27 Page Home
Jan. 28 Columbia Central Away
Jan. 31 Fairview Away
Feb. 3 Spring Hill Home
Feb. 7 Hickman Co. Away