Her second season may still be six months from beginning, but Warren County High School girls basketball coach Shea Panter is wasting no time trying to get her Lady Pioneers ready.
Panter selected 24 girls recently to be a part of the Lady Pioneer program, which is hopeful for a successful encore following a 17-18 season and regional-tournament berth in year one.
“We have several upperclassmen returning who started many games last year. We hope this experience develops into positive leadership for our team,” said Panter. “We’re looking forward to seeing all the potential talent for the entire team mold into a cohesive unit.”
The roster includes four seniors with significant playing experience in the past three seasons – forwards Allison Hitchcock and Marlee Smith and guards Kristen Rowland and Saydee Winfree. Junior Elsa Eckenrod also played a big role for the Lady Pioneers last season, while her classmates Jayden Smith, Rylan Moore and Anna Bain are hoping for expanded roles.
Summer practice began last week and Panter can already see her players working hard for playing time.
“The level of competition has been raised already. The girls are really working extremely hard in practice,” said Panter.
Sophomores Callie Cathcart, Rachel Johnson and Kaylee Chisam also return, while 13 freshmen are making bids for varsity spots for the Lady Pioneers.
Megan Patch, Tyra Wright, Emily Mikkola, Shonacye Rutlege, Kelsey Fults, Addyson Crouch, Marah Wanamaker and Hailey Wood are all coming off a successful season at WCMS – where they played for coach Panter two years ago.
The eight former Lady Pioneers are joined by Grace Rains and Bri Young – members of the Dibrell Lady Wildcats championship team – Centertown’s Macie Walker and Abbey Bain and Caylie Sherrell from Irving College.
Coach Panter kept a big number of freshmen in hopes several blossom into big-time contributors.
“It’s one of those years where you hate to cut a kid who could grow into a great player for the program,” said Panter.
Coach Panter will be dividing her roster into varsity and junior varsity teams leading up to summer camps. The Lady Pioneers are scheduled to participate in camps at MTSU, Belmont, DeKalb County and Shelbyville.