Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local Sports

December 28, 2013

Ailshie looking for Lady Jag defense to light the path to success in '14

JACKSONVILLE — Given the fact that the Jacksonville College women's basketball squad entered the 2013-14 season with eight brand new players and a totally new coaching staff, for the team to be going into the new year with a 7-6 overall slate (1-1 in Region XIV), is a pretty good deal.

Head coach Leasa Ailshie said that she expects better things from her ladies when they reconvene Wednesday, following the Christmas break.

“I'm never satisfied; that's just my personality,” Ailshie said. “Overall I would say that the first semester was an average one for us, but I am happy that we finished strong and started to play with a greater sense of urgency on defense.”

Defense is very important with Ailshie and those Lady Jags that can get the job done on defense will be rewarded by their coach.

“The players that give the effort, particularly on defense will be rewarded,” Ailshie said. “How well a player performs for us defensively will determine whether or not they start. I would like to have 5-7 kids that we rely heavily as starters and the first one or two off of the bench, but a lot of our kids are different and can do different things on the court, so we will continue to work on getting the right combinations out on the floor.”

Ailshie stated that her philosophy on basketball was one of taking control of the parts of the game that one can have a say over.

“No matter how good a team is, you can't control what happens when the ball leaves the players' hand,” Ailshie said. “Some nights the shots just aren't going to fall. But if you are playing good defense you can control how many points your opponent is able to score.”

Ailshie said that in her teams' first 13 games the proof is in the pudding when it comes to the Lady Jag defensive effort.

“There's no question, the games that we have really stressed defense we have played better, on both ends of the floor,” Ailshie said.

Ailshie said that it is imperative that the Lady Jags come back hungry,ready to buckle down and get the job done.

“January is very important for us because six of our eight games are at home in January,” Ailshie said. “We've got to take advantage of that, because when February rolls around, we only have three home games the entire month.”

After hosting the East Texas Lady Flight at 5:30 p.m.on Jan. 2, 2014, the Lady Jags will return to Region XIV action with a visit to Paris Junior College on Jan. 8. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Hunt Center.

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