North Little Rock Lady Charging Wildcats’ head coach Darryl Fimple found out something about his team during a trip to Northeast Arkansas. He has some pretty good guards.
After a close loss to what could be considered the best team in 5A, the Paragould Lady Rams, Fimple decided to stick with a smaller lineup, one that almost got him a road win at Paragould.
Tuesday’s 56-49 win at Mountain Home was the fourth win in league play against one loss since the Paragould trip.
Why is a smaller lineup working?
"We are able to spread the floor on both ends," Fimple said. "We are creating driving lanes, we have better perimeter shooters and we aren’t turning the ball over."
Just an average of five turnovers in their last three games confirms Fimple in his assessment.
The up tempo style is in line with how the league is put together. No one in the 7A/6A East has too many true post players that would force Fimple to deviate too far from his current philosophy.
What kept Fimple from going to a guard heavy lineup before was the fear of not getting enough rebounds.
"We have enough guards and inside kids that are athletic enough," Fimple said, "that it hasn’t hurt us as much as I thought it might."
Another plus to the new system is the fact that the Lady Charging Wildcats are getting to the foul line more and hitting free throws at a higher percentage.
"We’ve got more guards on the floor," Fimple said, "so they are better free throw shooters."
On defense, the Lady Charging Wildcats are playing at a faster pace and wreaking havoc in their opponents’ backcourt including the loss at Paragould.
Fimple said an experienced point guard such as the Lady Rams’ Carson Gill would be a tougher challenge to intimidate and turn over for his team.
"She is a dandy," Fimple said, "and we actually did get turnovers in that game. They just shot the ball so well."
Fimple’s new philosophy, even though he was a bit reluctant to move to it, has paid off with dividends in the win column sans a West Memphis loss.
Some refinement and tweaking could put them back where they are accustomed—the top of the conference mountain.