GARDNER – When the Gardner-South Wilmington Lady Panthers needed a basket, or someone to handle the ball in 2012-13, they almost always turned to Chelsea Schultz.
With Schultz, the area’s leading scorer last season, lost to graduation, the Lady Panthers will certainly look different this season.
Breann Fisher, one of their five seniors, said there are a number of players who may pick up some of the slack.
“We have a pretty wide range of girls,” Fisher said. “We have a couple posts this year, which is good because last year we had like two on varsity, so we have a couple more big girls, and we have a lot of guards, so a lot of outside shots that are gonna help us.”
Fisher and junior Sophie Barna comprise the projected starting backcourt for the Lady Panthers. Junior Emily Foley is in line to start at point guard, with senior Ally Matthews and junior Lexi Posing joining her in the backcourt.
The battle for playing time between the other players on the roster (seniors Paige Lardi, Sam Schultz and ReAnn Scoggin, juniors Julie Chambers and Taylor Speed, and sophomores Kylie King and Maranda Residori) is pretty even, head coach Adam Leigh said.
“We’ll have to wait and see after this next week where we match up as far as talent-wise goes, but I think for the most part we’re gonna be pretty competitive most games,” Leigh said.
“I don’t know if you can replace Chelsea. We depended on her a lot, so it’s gonna be interesting to see how we handle the ball. That’s probably one of the areas that I’m most nervous with coming into next week. ... I think we’ve got some adept ballhandlers that can do it. We’ll have to figure out a way to score.”
Many of the Lady Panthers, including Fisher, were members of the 2013 GSW volleyball team, which at 14-12 had the school’s most successful season in some time.
“I hope we can transfer over what we did in volleyball season to basketball,” Fisher said.
“Hopefully we can take all of that momentum and that energy that we had and pull ourselves together again and be a good team this year.”