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Jul. 7—Felix Shumpert was eyeing the Shannon girls basketball job for seven years.

When Warren Jennings retired following the 2020-21 season, Shumpert pounced at the chance. After serving as a Shannon boys assistant the past seven years, he was approved in late June as girls head coach.

Shumpert, 48, first got into coaching nine years ago as a girls assistant at South Panola. Prior to that, he officiated games and knew early on that coaching girls was “easier” than coaching boys.

“You teach them the fundamentals — guard, dribble, pass, shoot. You don’t have to worry about the extras,” Shumpert said. “Plus, the talent level of the girls (at Shannon) — it’s been there since I got there seven years ago. And I was like, yeah, when Jennings retires, I want his job.”

The Lady Red Raiders went 12-11 last season and lost to Tishomingo County in the second round of the Class 4A state playoffs.

There are some key pieces gone from that team, including post player Jamiya Bowen, who transferred to Pontotoc this summer.

‘I need some guards’

“My biggest thing right now is I need some guards,” Shumpert said. “I’ve got one that won’t be eligible until after Christmas, and another one hasn’t showed up to practice. … If I get those two to come on back in there, I’ll be doing a whole lot better.”

Shumpert’s love of teaching the fundamentals should come in handy with this group. The Lady Raiders played some summer league ball, but they spent the last two weeks of June just practicing.

“That’s what I’m going to focus on, getting those fundamentals up and getting their motor revved up,” Shumpert said. “I’ve got to teach them basketball, and that’s my focus, to teach them to recognize what to do and how to do it. The good thing is, they want it.”