The King's Academy girls gaining experience

Nov. 18, 2013 @ 01:52 PM

 The more comfortable The King’s Academy’s girls basketball team gets, the better things should go for the Lions.

TKA showed its youth and inexperience in the season opener Thursday, turning the ball over more than 30 times in a 51-45 loss to Carter. Coach Mark Koss is confident this team will grow as the season proceeds, however.

“It’s a maturing process,” Koss said. “This team’s going to be completely different in February than we are right now. ... It’s just a lack of poise, which comes with a team that’s mostly 15 and 16 (years old).”

Ali Stiebeling had 11 points while Bri Connatser added 10 in the loss. Tanisha Walker, at 6-foot-2, had nine points.

All those turnovers seemed, in part, due to the Lions rushing plays and possession. Koss said his team was still working out some first-game jitters. Once TKA settles down a little, it should have the pieces for a nice offensive unit.

“It is our first game,” said point guard Taylor Sparks, who chipped in eight points. “We’re still trying to learn to play with each other. And we’re really trying to keep a high-tempo pace during the game and just move the ball up and down the floor.”

Koss said he thought Sparks had the most poise on Thursday. TKA started Walker, a product of Wales, and four guards against the Hornets. All four of those guards have perimeter shooting ability, but Koss said team drills have prevented the young shooters from getting in enough 3s at practice.

As perimeter shots begin to fall, Koss expects it to open up the inside.

“We’re going to have to knock down the 3 to make it easier on (Walker),” Koss said.

Koss had praise for Sparks, calling her the “floor general” for the Lions in the opener. The coach is looking for that sort of composure from the rest of his players.

It’s something that should come with time. Koss said he was encouraged that his team held a third-quarter lead against a public school much larger than TKA. If the Lions can just clean up some of the turnovers and foul shooting, success should follow. It’s a matter of patience, he said.

“I think experience is it,” Koss said. “Tonight, we didn’t take care of the ball and they did.”