The Lady Panthers of Palmyra. Truly a dynamic team. Chris Parsons team success early this season has led to a solid state ranking. They score in bunches, shut you down in the backcourt and do it all together. That's what's made them so special this year. The culmination of years playing together has formed a group of girls that expect to dominate every time they step on the court. In recent weeks, that domination came to a halt against a local powerhouse. But it was that very loss that might make the Lady Panthers even more dangerous down the road this year.
Coach Parsons: "Last year we were able to run and gun and had a pretty good defense. This year I think when you look at it and you put five seniors that are good at playing with each other, they had a great summer, they know how to share the basketball. And you put them with three of four young girls that can just come in and kind of play their game and be comfortable, I think that makes for a pretty deadly combination"
A pretty deadly combination indeed. The cohesiveness of this Palmyra Lady Panther team has helped them to a number four state ranking. Their ability to play as one unit has been the driving force behind their success. Something that's stemmed from years of experience on the hardwood together.
Allie Dietrich: "The biggest thing about our success would be us five seniors have played together since we were little. And we're more than a family than just girls coming together on the court. I mean, we know each others strengths, we know each others weaknesses. I think that helps a lot."
Alexis Losson: "We've all grown up together and so we've all played a really long time together. So five seniors playing together, all as friends, it really helps a lot."
Haylee Nix: "I think we've been able to have the success we've had because we've worked together as a team and we're all so close especially having five seniors on the team. I think we have a really good bench so we just work really good together."
A recent loss to power Quincy Notre Dame ended a five game win streak to start the season. But as many unfortunate losses present, a lesson is to be learned. And the girls agree it was a humbling experience. Something that will help them later this season.
Allie Dietrich: "I think that loss just showed us what we need to work on. Their defense was really up in our face, kind of defense we usually don't see that. A lot of teams zone us, so I think it helps further down the road we will see tougher teams like that. We know what to expect and we've had the practice and I think that in the long run we can look back at that game and learn from it."
Alexis Losson: "QND's a really good team and they play good defense and good offense, so it teaches us what we need to work on than playing a less challenging team."
Haylee Nix: "I think it's kind of like a lesson. It helps us because we know what we need to work on and we know that it makes us want to be better. It makes us want to get better next year and not have that same problem and lose again."
Coach Parson: "QND and Coach Orne is a great program first of all. We knew going in to The Pit it was going to be a tough game no matter what. We handled our own in the first half and I thought we played pretty strong. Coach Orne's got a deep bench and they banged with us inside and got a little physical with us and we backed down a little bit. I told the girls if we want to get to the upper eschelon where we want to be at, we're going to have to handle teams like that. We're not always going to get to play the teams that we're going to beat by thirty or forty points. Those games are great for us, they don't always look good on the scoreboard, but I guarantee you that made us a better team."
And as great teams like Palmyra will tell you, there's plenty to work on.
Coach Parson: "We've got to stay on top of it on the press. We've got to cause teams to turn the basketball over. We're a team that can run and gun. We're always a team that can shoot the basketball in a half-court set. But we want to force turnovers. We've got to get better at getting in front of the basketball, taking better angles and getting the traps set."
Alexis Losson: "We want to improve on both ends. We want to get better at working the ball around, making our shots Our free throws are what we need to improve on."
Allie Dietrich: "I think a big thing is our practices are always upbeat. We always pushed each other. It really helps when our bench is so good and when we scrimmage in practice that helps us get better for the next game."