COLUMBUS – Starkville Academy girls basketball coach Glenn Schmidt wanted her team to go through a game to see where it was.
The Heritage Academy Tournament has provided that opportunity before November and the first game has revealed exactly what Schmidt needed to see.
The Lady Volunteers lost a 58-34 decision to Madison-Ridgeland Academy and it was a game where Schmidt said SA couldn't seem to shake the "first game jitters."
"When we didn't make any shots early, we let up a little bit and lost our self-confidence," Schmidt said. "The moral of the story is if you are not making shots, you've got to do two other things and that's play defense and rebound. I'm not worried because I think we can fix all of that."
Sallie Kate Richardson hit the first basket of the game to put the Lady Vols on top, then a pair of Julianne Jackson buckets gave SA a 6-1 lead with 4:30 remaining in the first quarter.
After Haley Cox scored for MRA, Anna Prestridge made a shot for the Lady Vols to push the advantage out to 8-3 at the 3:39 mark of the opening quarter.
That's when the Lady Patriots took control of the game as they closed out the first quarter on a 14-0 run to take a 17-8 lead.
MRA stretched the margin to 33-14 by halftime and 46-25 after three quarters.
"This was an 'oh my goodness, it's basketball season' type of game," Schmidt said. "It's going to take a few games for us to get our feet under us and get confident in our shooting. We probably didn't even shoot 20 percent.
"They needed to play badly to feel where they were. I have confidence in them and they'll get confident themselves and it's going to be a great season."
Richardson, a freshman, had 11 points to lead SA in scoring, while Cox poured in 21 points for a strong MRA squad.
"That's a pretty good club we played and we'll come back," Schmidt said. "That's one game out of about 35."