Hartzog inherits seasoned team|[11/2/05]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 2, 2005

The top six players from last year’s Vicksburg Missy Gators basketball team are back, but the coach is new.

Former Jackson Provine coach Barbara Hartzog takes over the reins of the Missy Gators program after Mike Coleman left to take the job at Quitman High School. Hartzog won a Class 4A title at Provine in 2002.

One of the first things Hartzog stressed to her new team is that starting lineups are not etched in stone.

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&#8220We’re beginning to understand each other,” Hartzog said. &#8220They know what to expect from themselves and we’re making progress.”

With the inside presence of Rachel Jenkins and Kristin Ellis returning along with the quick guard play of Cre’Tarsha Taylor, Jazmin Johnson and Kendra Sims, Hartzog looks to be headed right into a title contending team.

Well, maybe.

&#8220Basically I’ve told them that we have 20 ball players in this program and they all have some things to contribute,” Hartzog said. &#8220We have some girls who played a lot last year, but they are nothing without their other teammates.”

Jenkins, a junior, is one of those returning starters.

&#8220Rachel has shown a lot of hustle and has a lot of talent. But Keisha Collins has worked hard and so has Regina Ervin,” Hartzog said.

Jenkins and Ellis were the two top scorers last season for the Missy Gators, who finished 13-15. They were fourth in Division 6-5A and had to play eventual State 5A semifinalist Warren Central in the first round of the division tournament.

Hartzog said one of her first priorities is to get the Missy Gators to play under control.

&#8220We have a lot of bad habits. And one of the things we’ve got to do is limit our unforced errors. We’ve had our ups and downs from that point,” Hartzog said. &#8220Talent tends to get lazy.”

Tiffany Williams will be counted on to be a top outside shooter for VHS. Taylor, Johnson and Sims are the guard trio and all three are very quick.

&#8220Coach Hartzog has told us that speed isn’t everything,” Johnson said. &#8220We work on our ball handling every day with the little drills we do.”

Taylor Ammons, a 5-11 sophomore, could help out in the post with Ellis (5-10) and Jenkins (5-10).

VHS faces a new four-team division this year. Warren Central is rebuilding, but Greenville went to the playoffs last year, losing to state runner-up Meridian in the first round.