The student-run online newspaper for Starr's Mill High School

The Prowler

The student-run online newspaper for Starr's Mill High School

The Prowler

The student-run online newspaper for Starr's Mill High School

The Prowler

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Historic season ends as Titans pull away in final minutes

Jenson Mahr
Senior Brooke Herdman attempts a lay up. Herdman scored a total of five points in her final game for the Lady Panthers.

The game between the Lady Panthers and Lady Titans was close until the final four minutes. North Oconee ended an historic season for Starr’s Mill varsity girls basketball in the Elite 8, 62-55.

In head coach Anna Atha’s second season as coach, the Lady Panthers not only advanced to the Elite 8 for the first time in school history but also hosted the AAAA quarterfinals game. 

“I think that the developments I have seen overall in the program have been the buy-in and excitement,” Atha said. “The girls have really bought into the opportunity to be successful, which translates to the commitment level.”

Freshman Lindsey Kopacek led Starr’s Mill with 17 points. Senior Brooke Godown added 15 points, and junior Kali McQuade contributed 11 points. 

The Titans were led by senior Reese Riddle with 20 points, junior Kendall Wells with 13 points, and senior Aiyana Peavy with 12 points. 

“We’re losing five of our most valuable players, so I think I’ll have to step it up and be more of a leader,” Kopacek said. “Losing them is going to make everyone work harder to fill in their shoes and step up.”

Freshman Lindsey Kopacek shoots over a Titan defender. Kopacek led the Panthers in scoring with 17 points. (Jenson Mahr)

North Oconee jumped out to a lead to begin both quarters in the first half. The Panthers fought back, relying on Kopacek inside to keep the game close. North Oconee led 28-27 at halftime.

Their post player was in foul trouble [in] the first half,” Atha said. “So when she returned to the game in the second half, her inside presence hurt us a little bit.” 

Starr’s Mill went up in the third quarter. There was constant back-and-forth on the court and the Titans had to catch up using a stronger inside presence. The third quarter ended with the Titans leading 42-40.

“We definitely were a very physical team and got even more physical throughout the season,” Atha said. “Physicality starts in practicing hard, but also getting in the weight room during the off season which we try to do a good job of.”

North Oconee focused more on their inside game in the final quarter. In the last four minutes, the Titans were up nine points. The Lady Panthers were unable to recover, and lost 62-55.

I definitely think that this season set the tone for the success that this program is capable of,” Atha said. 

The Starr’s Mill Lady Panthers ended their season with the region champion title. The team finished the season 22-8 overall.

“[I’ve learned] to not give up,” senior Brooke Herdman said. “[We] lost to [some teams] at the beginning of the year, like Fayette, but we came back and won the region championship. Nothing is ever impossible.”

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