Rebounding is Pigeon Forge's early weakness
The Pigeon Forge girls basketball team has great chemistry and a good core, including a player coach Paul Reagan calls one of the best to ever come through the school.
It’s just rebounding that seems to be the preseason bugaboo.
“Well, tonight, we didn’t box out one time,” Reagan said on Monday. “Of course, it’s just the Jamboree. Our lack of height got to us but we still have to be able to push people and we didn’t do that tonight.
“That’s probably the weakest area we’ve got. We’ve got good ball handlers. We’ve got good shooters. We’re pretty athletic. We’ve just got to be able to box out.”
The Tigers have been one of the most consistently successful programs in the area, averaging 20 wins each of the last six seasons. They advanced to the region every year over that stretch and made the state tournament in 2011 during a 24-win campaign.
Reagan said getting back to state is the goal every year and it’s no different this season. Reaching that goal starts with senior Mikayla Trombley, who Reagan said is drawing interest from several small colleges. The coach also had praise for seniors Callie Clabo and Clarissa Crowley as well as junior Rebecca Baker. He said that core will be nicely complemented by some young players, including a five-player sophomore class. It’s a group that gets along better than any team Reagan has ever coached.
“(Chemistry’s) definitely important,” Trombley said. “You have to be able to trust your teammates and know that they’re going to do what they need to do.”
There appears to be plenty of trust amongst the Tigers. Reagan said his younger players seem eager to play well for the seniors and there are no quarrels or drama on the court.
That cohesiveness combined with the talent Pigeon Forge already has seems to set the Tigers up for another run to the region tournament. They just have to make sure they box out. Reagan said it’s a skill developed through toughness drills Pigeon Forge does on a daily basis.
“You’ve got to always be physically tougher than whoever you’re boxing out,” Trombley said. “The height is a factor even though coaches don’t always say that. You just have to be stronger than the other team, work harder.”