Rebuild complete

Lady Panthers clinch first seed in region tournament


Shelby Foster

Junior Alice Anne Hudson scans the court for an open teammate. Hudson, a first team All-Region selection, senior Alyssa Angelo, and Region 3-AAAAA freshman of the year Jaclyn Hester have helped rebuild a girls’ basketball program that missed the state playoffs just two years ago.

Rilee Stapleton, Editor-in-Chief

Just two years ago, the girls’ basketball team at Starr’s Mill was the only team at the school to miss the state playoffs. After defeating Griffin 43-38, however, they’ve rose to the top of the region and will be the No. 1 seed entering the tournament, automatically securing a state playoff spot.

“This year we focused on trying to do all the right things,” senior Alyssa Angelo said. “Like boxing out, [and] not committing a lot of turnovers.”

Shelby Foster
Junior Victoria Fuller defends a Griffin player. Fuller contributed eight points in the Lady Panthers’ win, including two crucial three-pointers. The win over the Lady Bears helped Starr’s Mill secure the top spot in Region 3-AAAAA, giving them a bye in the first round of the region tournament and an automatic bid to the GHSA state playoffs.

Despite it being senior night, junior Alice Anne Hudson stole the show. Just one game after breaking the Starr’s Mill all-time scoring record, Hudson scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against the Lady Bears. The seniors didn’t disappoint, however, as Angelo dished out six assists while playing great defense, and SK Kirby added six points and three rebounds.

Griffin used size inside to score on second chance opportunities, and their perimeter shooting kept the game close. However, as the game went on, the Lady Panthers figured out the Bear defense, and Griffin fell behind.

“[The players] did really well. They did everything we asked from them,” head coach Emily Sweeney said. “We knew Griffin was going to be tough and athletic, and we had to handle the pressure.”

The first quarter was a close one, as both teams played at a slow pace and found open looks. Hudson scored seven points in the period, and Kirby and junior Victoria Fuller had three points each in the first eight minutes. After the opening quarter, Starr’s Mill led 13-10.

The second quarter was more defensive for both sides. Fuller opened the quarter with another three-pointer, and the Lady Panthers only scored two more points for the rest of the quarter. Griffin, however, didn’t take advantage of the Mill’s offensive woes, and they still trailed 18-17 going into halftime.

“We slowed the ball down a little bit, we calmed down, and we made the right decisions,” Angelo said. “We should’ve done that the whole game, but we were a little on edge during the first few quarters.”

To start the second half, the Lady Bears applied full-court pressure and forced early turnovers from Starr’s Mill. However, the Lady Panther defense prevented Griffin from building a lead. Hudson scored an additional five points in the quarter, and Starr’s Mill led 30-28 going into the final quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Lady Panthers started beating the Griffin press, resulting in layups and open jumpshots. Junior Ryanne King had four crucial points in the quarter, two of which came on a layup following an offensive rebound. Hudson and freshman Jaclyn Hester closed out the game from the free throw line, and Starr’s Mill captured their 17th win of the year and clinched the No. 1 seed in the region tournament.

“We kept getting getting loose balls and our defense was a lot better during the fourth quarter,” Hudson said. “We just played as a team and that’s how we got our lead.”

Following the game against Griffin, the Lady Panthers defeated Riverdale 58-25 to conclude the regular season. Every player on the team scored in the team’s win.

The Lady Panthers finished the regular season with an 18-7 record. They have a bye for the first round of the region tournament and will face the winner of the Whitewater vs. Fayette County matchup.