Spring Training

KOSSUTH – Kossuth’s making plans to visit Jackson this spring – to play in the state tournament, not watch it.
The Lady Aggies kicked off their projected journey to the Big House with a 61-26 season-opening victory Tuesday against Tishomingo County.
“Not being able to go last year made us want it even more,” said senior guard Katie Garvin, who scored 13 points in the opener.
Kossuth finished 22-7 last season, losing four games – two each – to Class 3A state tournament finalists Belmont and Ripley. The Aggies, who beat Ripley once, also lost to 2A state champion New Site and 4A finalist New Albany.
“It hurt us to see Belmont and Ripley first and second in the state,” said senior guard Mercedes Gwyn, who scored 15 points to lead the Aggies. “We’re hoping to go to state and win this year.”
Garvin, Gwyn and 5-foot-4 junior point guard Kiki Gwyn give Kossuth a solid backcourt. The smaller Gwyn’s a sprinter in transition and a press-breaker.
“I didn’t think our offense was as smooth as it needed to be and we didn’t shoot the ball as well as we’re capable of,” Kossuth coach Larry Johnson said. “I thought our defense was solid. The effort was great. The kids played hard and really got after it.”
Tishomingo County (1-1) did not have a player score in double figures.
“They’re a really good team,” Tishomingo County coach Cliff Little said. “We knew it would be tough coming in. Nobody was on the same page with what we were trying to do.
“A lot of that was Kossuth.”
Kossuth took a 19-8 lead in the first quarter, then built a 33-13 halftime lead. Tishomingo County scored just two points in the third quarter.
Garvin, who averaged 16 points a game last season, said nerves played a big part in Kossuth’s offensive struggles early. She picked up two quick fouls and sat most of the first quarter.
“Nerves are good … as long as they go away,” she said, then smiled. “We’ve got to take our time, set screens and run our offense.”
Garvin believes the Aggies have improved their play in transition.
“I’ve always thought we should be better,” she said. “We’ve got such a quick point guard.”
Inside, Kossuth looks to 5-11 post player Odyssey McGaha, who scored nine points in the opener, all in the first half.
Clarissa Turner, a junior guard, came off the bench in the second half to score 11 fourth-quarter points.
(B) Tishomingo Co. 87, Kossuth 44
Jake Walker scored 29 points to lead the Braves, who led 40-24 at halftime.
n Summaries, Page 2B

GENE PHELPS / NEMS Daily Journal