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Simmons Says - Gearing up for b-ball

There is no rest for the weary. Sports are always churning along.

Three days after the football season came to an end locally, basketball was revving its engine for the start of the season. Monday was the official start of the season, with Shea Panter and Chris Sullens entering with completely different outlooks.

Both WCHS coaches are starting their fifth seasons at the helm, with one looking forward to perhaps their best season and the other having to rebuild after a banner year.

This is the year Panter has looked toward since starting with the Lady Pioneers. The Warren County girls are senior-laden and determined to prove District 6-AAA coaches and media wrong.

It seemed like a slap in the face when the Lady Pioneers were picked to finish last at media day last week. Warren County was fourth last year and returns nearly its full complement of players. Only Callie Cathcart, who split time as a starter and reserve, is gone.

Tyra Wright alone should be enough to guarantee some victories. In the last eight years covering sports, it’s rare I can remember a time where I thought Warren County would have the best player on the field, or the court, or any surface, most nights.

Wright should be.

I’m sure I’ll write plenty in the next four months about the 6-foot-3 post with smooth moves on the block and a silky jumper from 15 feet in. She won’t be the lone reason for praise though.

Megan Patch may be the best shooter in the school. If there was a 3-point shootout held, I’d take Patch over anybody. If the senior sniper gets her feet set and a clean look, just put three points on the board.

There’s also a great comeback in the works. Emily Mikkola was forced to sit out the entire volleyball season after hand surgery, but the brace should be off in the next week. If the all-district point guard is ready, the Lady Pioneers should have a chance to win a large number of district games.

Sullens has a tougher road. Fans who show up to Charlie Dalton Gym in two weeks to see the Pioneers play will probably sound a lot like the guys from “Major League” when they looked at the Indians roster.

“Who are these guys?”

Isaiah Grayson and his goggles are gone. So is Chance Hobbs and his 15 points per game. Tyree Ladet, Caleb Newby and Bunker Brock all walked across the stage in May too.

The Pioneers are going to be an enigma early. The good thing is it’s a long season, and it’s just getting started.