Lady Panthers size up the season

Nov. 17, 2015 – The Lady Panthers began their season with a 44-32 win over the Pebblebrook Falcons.

Amanda Banton, Staff writer

“The girls should be successful this season,” coach Emily Woodward said. “I expect us to have a winning season.”

If the Lady Panthers expect to improve upon last year’s 9-16 record, one obstacle the team will have to overcome is the small size of this year’s team.

This season, the girls basketball consists of only seven players. With a small team, there will not be many fresh faces throughout a  game, and the players will tire more quickly.

“The only thing I’m worried about is the size of the team,” coach Shane Ratliff said. “We will be going up against a lot of teams with a lot of members.”

One way the team looks to overcome the lack of players is through the leadership of senior forward Alli Jones and senior guard Riley Clark.

Clark has played ever since she was in the first grade and was six years old. She has played for the Lady Panthers all four years of high school, and has been a starter for the past two seasons. “I have played the game ever since I was little and I am basketball smart,” Clark said.

Jones has been playing basketball since she was four years old. She is a four-year starter for the Lady Panthers. “I’m a key role player and I’ve done travel ball in the summer,” Jones said.

The key games for this season are the matchups against McIntosh. Starr’s Mill vs. McIntosh draws the attention of players, coaches, and fans, in what has become titled The Battle of the Bubble.  Last season, the Lady Panthers lost to the McIntosh Chiefs 30-29 on Dec. 6, and lost again 42-25 on Jan. 23.  The region games are also some more of the key games, especially as Northgate High School has provided more competition recently.

The season tipped off Nov. 17 as the girls played their first game against the Pebblebrook Falcons, winning 44-32. The team also has played games won against Drew 54-27 on Dec. 1, and prevailed again against Mundy’s Mill 56-42 on Dec. 4.  However, the Lady Panthers’ winning streak came to an end on Dec. 5, losing to McIntosh 50-28.