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Panter, Lady Pioneers prepare for season
Saydee Winfree.JPG
Saydee Winfree is about to embark on her senior year for the Lady Pioneers. Winfree is one of four seniors who will see extensive time on the varsity floor this year for Warren County.

The Warren County Lady Pioneers are poised to get the 2015-16 season underway. The Lady Pioneers have been rejuvenated and have a new outlook after they finished last season just one game shy of .500.
The Lady Pioneers started the season off strong and collected seven straight wins before they dropped four in a row. After the red-hot start, the Lady Pioneers’ season leveled off and it continued on a roller coaster ride the remainder of the year.
The season dropped off near the end and out of the last 10 games the Lady Pioneers dropped seven of them. Two of the last three wins came against Stone Memorial and a first-round district tournament win over Rhea County.
The Southern Standard caught up to second-year head coach Shea Panter to preview the upcoming season. Coach Panter has remained confident her team can compete on a higher level. The Lady Pioneers are a more unified team this year, Panter said, and have grown closer over the offseason.
She stated this season the Lady Pioneers will cheer for each other in good times and pick each other up in bad times.
One of the most noticeable changes for the Lady Pioneers and the biggest question going around is the number of players who did not return to the lineup. Coach Panter noted she didn’t really see it coming but she had heard about the possibility of some players not returning while in the school hallways.
Nevertheless, in her second year as head coach, a total of 10 players did not return for various reasons. First and foremost, coach Panter noted two Lady Pioneers were seniors last year. Four other players came to her and explained, due to competing in other sports and trying to juggle their academics, they would no longer be members of the basketball team.
Coach Panter was appreciative of the honesty and openness from those players. She noted she didn’t hear anything from the others and when tryouts came they did not show. Those players were no longer committed and basketball was not a priority.
Coach Panter said, “Everyone playing this season wants to play. They want to be here and they are committed.”
The biggest hurdle for the Lady Pioneers will be experience. Only a few players have extensive minutes on the floor at the varsity level. “Our four seniors have a desire to lead the younger players,” said Panter. “All four seniors have potential to lead and all will get the chance in some form or fashion.”
Coach Panter continued, “We started the season last year with some success and then we had some players who went cold. We lost some of our team unity.”
A constant struggle with the Lady Pioneers, according to coach Panter, is getting the team to practice at the tempo and intensity of game situations. Panter has discussed this with other coaches at WCHS and no one seems to have the perfect answer.
“I want the Lady Pioneers to go and go until they can’t go anymore in practice. We have to learn how to dig deep, we cannot wait until the game is drawing to a close to learn this. It must be learned before then,” exclaimed coach Panter.
The biggest hurdle this season for the Lady Pioneers will be experience. Only four players have minutes on the floor at the varsity level.
The Lady Pioneers have a large group of talented players who have entered the high school. Despite having enough for a freshman team, coach Panter has chosen not to play a freshman team by itself.
She will in fact play a Lady Pioneer varsity and junior varsity team only due to the fact several of the freshmen will get time with the varsity squad throughout the season.
Coach Panter said, “All of these freshmen have had a taste of success and most are hungry and most came so close.”
The Lady Pioneers open their season Nov. 24 at home versus Cannon County with a tip-off time scheduled for 6 p.m.