The first step to building the Warren County High School girls basketball program into a consistent winner is finding talented players. New coach Shea Panter believes she has done that.
Panter’s roster features 22 players, including a transfer who could help shake up the balance in District 6-AAA.
Karagan Turner, a two-time all-district performer at Cookeville, has returned home to play for the Lady Pioneers this season. She attended WCMS and played under Panter for three years before suiting up for the Lady Cavaliers the last two seasons. Turner is one of five juniors who made the squad.
Allison Hitchcock, Kristen Rowland, Marlee Smith and Saydee Winfree return to the team after making solid impacts as sophomores a year ago. All four started games during last season’s 17-15 campaign and have been suiting up for the varsity team since their freshman years.
Coach Panter’s first team will be light at the top as only two seniors return for the Lady Pioneers. All-District 6-AAA performer Brittany Myers is back as the team’s top guard while Emily Scott is hopeful to earn more playing time in the post in her final season.
The sophomore class is the biggest with eight returning players. Madison Mason, Jordan Bess and Elsa Eckenrod headline the group as each played extensively for the varsity team as freshmen last season. Mason was a starter for most of the year.
Other sophomores looking to make the leap to varsity play this year include Natalie Reed, Jayden Smith, Rylan Moore, Anna Bain and Tatum Young.
The fresh faces on the Lady Pioneer roster are Lexie Chadwell, Kyra Hillis, Kaylee Chisam, Allison Cripps, Callie Cathcart, Rachel Johnson and Bethany Fye. Chadwell, Hillis, Chisam and Cripps all played under Panter last year at Warren County Middle School. Cathcart and Johnson were all-county performers at Irving College and Dibrell, respectively. Fye is a transfer student from Michigan who will also be on the Lady Pioneer volleyball team.
Panter hopes the well-rounded roster will produce early success during her tenure with the Lady Pioneers.
“I think we have a scarppy bunch of girls. They are hard workers and are having fun right now,” said Panter. “We have a lot of different combinations that we will be working with this year and that will give us a well-balanced attack.”
Helping Panter coach the Lady Pioneers this fall will be Leanne Pelham Morrison and Eden Fann. Both will be assistant varsity coaches while Morrison will work with the junior varsity squad and Fann will coach the freshmen.