Media day was held in Cookeville on Monday for District 6-AAA basketball coaches and athletic directors. It gave coaches a chance to discuss their outlook about the upcoming season. Some coaches talked about players who moved on to the next level and others talked about things to come.
The Lady Pioneers finished last season under first-year head coach Shea Panter with an overall record of 17-18 and a district record of 3-7.
Coach Panter, in her second season, most likely did not foresee a partial rebuild after her first season as head coach. Over the course of the summer, the Lady Pioneers made a shift in coaching. Her assistant coaches this year are Leanna Morrison and Camron Bond.
Coach Panter lost senior Brittany Myers who was a very valuable piece of the puzzle at Warren County and a tremendous leader for the Lady Pioneers.
Coach Panter will return four seniors this year. They are Allison Hitchcock, Saydee Winfree, Kristen Rowland, and Marlee Smith.
Hitchcock and Winfree played a substantial amount of minutes last season and coach Panter hopes the duo will be able to keep pace and provide minutes and points to lead the offense.
Rowland and Smith are gritty players and they will have to provide more physical play inside perhaps than previous years. Elsa Eckenrod is back and she is always a threat to shoot from outside but also possesses the skill to drive the lane.
Coach Panter also brings back four juniors and three sophomores. She discussed her large freshman class to the other coaches. Coach Panter kept a total of 10 freshmen and noted she could potentially play three of them on the varsity squad right now.
Most noticeable of the freshman class is the 6-foot-1 post Tyra Wright, who will provide a very intimidating presence inside.
The Lady Cavs finished last season with an overall 12-20 record and a district record of 5-5. Head coach Mindy Odom discussed her four starters returning this season so her Lady Cavs will have a little more depth than last year but not so much in the post.
She felt good about the way her team made a run at the end of the year last season and has high hopes for her ladies this season.
The Cumberland County Lady Jets are led by coach Radhika Miller. The Lady Jets finished with an overall record of 26-6 last season and a district record of 9-1. The Lady Jets have a great group of coaches and we are ready to get started.
Senior Courtney Smith is back and Sydney Clark returns after an ACL injury. Coach Miller says he hopes the freshman class can step up and contribute this season.
The Rhea County Golden Eagles have first-year head coach Steve Williams from Florida. He took over the program in June and he reported the team had a good summer.
Coach Williams has a few who are working hard to overcome injuries and he has Erick Baird as his assistant and the Lady Golden Eagles will be ready. He said jokingly, “Running on the beach is different than running up hills.”
The Stone Memorial Lady Panthers finished last season with an overall record of 3-23 and a district record of 0-10. The Lady Panthers are led by head coach Mike Buck and he discussed only winning three games last season.
The Lady Panthers are full of youth and are ready to compete. Riley Hunt is the only senior for the Lady Panthers. Others include Lexi Hench, a good shooter, and Emily Boyd, a player who can go to either side of the floor.
The White County Lady Warriors will be led this season by head coach Michael Dodgen. Dodgen comes from Cannon County and he led the Cannon County Lionettes to the James C. Haile State Tournament last season.
Coach Dodgen said, “I cut my drive down to 15 minutes.”
He was in Cannon County for the last 10 years. After the Warriorettes lost five seniors last season there is much uncertainty. He noted that taking over a team with not much basketball knowledge.
Logan Quillen, Hannah Leftwich, and DeAndre Luna are going to lead the Warriorettes.
“One of the hardest parts about coaching is building new relationships and learning everyone’s names,” said coach Dodgen.
The Lady Pioneers will tip off their season on Nov. 19 versus Tullahoma at the Hall of Champions Tournament in Franklin County. Game time is set for 3:45 p.m.
The first home game for Warren County is Nov. 24 versus Cannon County at Charlie Dalton Gym with a game time scheduled for 6 p.m.