PORTSMOUTH – After the graduation of five seniors, four of which were starters on last year’s sectional championship team which finished 15-9 (11-3 SOC I), the Clay Panthers girls basketball team will be searching for an identity in the early goings of the 2019-20 season.
Replacing four starters in second team all-district forward Jensen Warnock, special mention all-district guard Cam Delotell, all-SOC first team guard Skylar Artis, all-SOC second team guard Sophia Balestra, and fellow senior Hannah Pauley is no easy task for second-year head coach Scott Artis who is himself interested to see what works best for his Panthers team once the ‘19-20 season kicks (or dribbles) off.
“Practice has been great so far,” Artis said. “We’ve been doing a lot of experimenting to see what works best with this group on both ends of the floor. Shooting has definitely been one of our strengths in the early goings.”
Returning players with varsity experience for the Panthers include senior Jaelyn Warnock, junior Shaley Munion, junior Sophia Gatti, and sophomore Kyleigh Oliver.
Seniors Kelsey Fowler and Laiken Skinner, juniors Megan Bazler, Makenzie Loper, Tabby Whitt and Kathyn Cochran, and freshmen Maggie Swain, Amadea Everman, and Morgan McCoy round out the Panthers roster entering the ‘19-20 season.
“Our timing as a team is something we’re continuing to work on, growing more cohesive with each other,” Artis said. “There’s no substitute for time, so it is something we continue to work on. We want to make sure we’re in the right places to receive the ball and cutting at the right times.”
In addition to their regular SOC I slate, non-league games vs. Northwest, Adena, Manchester, Belpre, Valley, South Webster, Eastern, and Whiteoak round out the Panthers regular season schedule as they grow and improve as a young team.
“We want to be competitive night in and night out,” Artis said. “We want to make sure we are moving in the right direction. We will be happy with how the chips fall as long as we are putting a team out there that is ready to compete.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved