Less is more for Lamar Christian girls basketball

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - If you check out a  Lamar Christian girls basketball practice, you may think some players are missing. You would be wrong. Rachael Pitts, Becca Chatham, Chatherine Hannabass, Rebekah Engle, Abbey Anderson and Kalie Blackmon make up the entire Lady Lions roster.

Coaching at a small private school, limited numbers isn't new for George Coll. But there's something different about this group.

"I've coached six players but never six players like this," Coll said. "Real special group. Real special group of ladies that we have right here."

This group has come together to form one of the state's top private schools. The Lady Lions have won 26 games with a schedule that has included tough public school competition. Remember, this is with only one player on the bench.

"We come together as a team and just make it work," junior guard Rachael Pitts said. "Our coach supports us. He believes in us so it's just really good to have a good support system and a team that works well together."

These Lady Lions have surely trusted the process.

"Having them just be able to focus every possession and try to get better every possession has been a real key," Coll said. "Them buying into that has been a key to our success and being blessed with no injury."
A lack of numbers raises the importance of health, conditioning and discipline on the defensive end. An injury or foul trouble could force the team to run with five players or less.
"During the summer we don't really touch the balls a lot," junior guard Becca Chatham said. "We're on the line running. Working out. After our two hour practices we're in the weight room."
Pitts has her own theory on the team's ability to avoid foul trouble.
"I think it's just more of being scared of coach Coll getting onto us for having the fouls," Pitts said. "So he wants us to be disciplined and defense is important to us."
The Lady Lions are set to host their district tournament this week. They're looking to repeat as MAIS Central 2A champions and make it back to the state title game.
With discipline, toughness, belief and work ethic, the championship makeup is there. Coll and his squad will continue to focus on what they do have, not what they're lacking.
"Even with six...I mean we only had eight last year so I mean even with six I feel like we can still go as far or further then we did last year," junior forward Rebekah Engle said.

Witnessing this group perform through all challenges has inspired Coll.

George Coll: "This is something that they want to do," he said. "They're that committed where they're texting me "coach can you open the gym in the morning?" When you get that it inspires you to go and do whatever you can do to try to help them become the best they can be."