Linzy wants his Lady Chargers to play fast

After a summer filled with workouts and games, Shayne Linzy knows his Oxford Lady Charger basketball team is deeper than last season.

The head coach wants them to play fast on the basketball court, and he feels like their experience will pay off in 2014-15.

“It was probably a better summer than I thought it would be,” Linzy said. “I’ve got a lot of young girls that got some playing time last year that are going to have to step-up and be those girls that can come off the bench and give us a spark and things of that nature. We had some younger girls this summer that didn’t play a lot last year that stepped up this summer, and that really gives us that depth we’re going to need with the style of defense we play.”

Oxford won the Class 5A state championship two years ago, and posted a 33-0 record in the process. The Lady Chargers won games by playing up-tempo on defense and consequently scoring points off turnovers.

“With us wanting to go more to a man-to-man defense, we need bodies for foul situations and also because we’re going to be running up and down the floor,” Linzy said. “We installed a new defense and I felt like we got better at it each game we played, which is supposed to happen. You’re supposed to learn from previous mistakes and things of that nature. Offensively, I felt like we had some girls who lacked the confidence to score last year or be that main scorer last year. But this summer, I felt like I had three or four that stepped up their game and were attacking the basket more and trying to create their own shots.”

Linzy saw his players thinking less on offense, and even if they didn’t score their shots were better, from a fundamental standpoint.

“They did it the right way even if their shots didn’t go in,” Linzy said. “I saw them have more confidence and not have to always think about what they were doing.”

The summer did provide some bad news for Linzy as his top post player, Kyla Malone, was lost to a torn ACL the third week in June at Delta State’s basketball camp. Malone has already had her surgery and she’s started the recovery process.

“I hate it more for her because she went down in the fourth ballgame of the season last year,” Linzy said. “She really worked hard to come back and then this happens. It’s heartbreaking to see a kid work like she did and it happens again. The good part is she knows what it’s going to take to get back; and from everything I’ve heard so far she is really working hard to get back.”

Linzy said the team is better able to deal with the loss of their teammate since she was out last season.

“The girls will be a little more prepared to handle the game without her,” he said. “We played several games already without her this summer and the girls stepped up while she was out. With the six seniors that I have, that’s what I expect out of them. It’s, ‘I’m needed more now that she’s gone.’ I expect the girls to take care of their business.”

The school year is set to begin in three weeks, and Linzy will get his team back for an hour, per day, once the academic year begins. As the summer turns to fall, full practice will begin and he will be able to instruct for a longer period of time each day. A lot of the offense that he had to teach won’t be as big of a burden due to the experience level. In the end, the coach wants to be able to let his team play, rather than have them learn as they play.

“We’ve lifted weights and we have an open gym right now where we let them come and shoot,” Linzy said. “When we have the fourth-period practice when school starts, we’ll go back to drills and teaching the different ways we want them to play on defense. We’ll work on shooting.

“With Kyla out, it does hurt us size-wise, but we have a couple of other girls that can play the post position. The guards are going to have to step-up the outside shooting and be able to create more on the dribble. We always want to play fast, but with our lack of height we want to play faster.”

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