Lady Panthers return strong senior group, emphasizing defensive improvements

File photo
Senior Kindall Seamands puts up a finger roll shot during a home game last season against Big Horn. Seamands is one of five seniors that returns for the Lady Panthers this season. 

By: 
Eddie Poe eddie@hpsentinel.com

After nearly an entire year of waiting, the start of basketball season is upon us.
The Wright Lady Panthers will take to the hardwood for the first time this weekend after finishing runner-up to Sundance last season in 2A Northeast at 12-11 overall and 6-2 in the conference. The two teams battled for conference supremacy for the majority of last season, but with nearly all of their starters returning for the 2018-19 campaign, the Lady Panthers have reason for optimism.
“We return a strong group of girls this season,” head coach Natalie Prosenick said. “We’re very versatile from position to position and can hit shots from anywhere on the court. We have options and that’s exciting.”
Wright ended last season averaging 46.7 points per game, fifth-best in 2A behind only Lusk, Pine Bluffs, Wyoming Indian and Moorcroft. The Lady Panthers have a strong group of scorers and it’s undoubtedly where their greatest strength lies.
Prosenick’s team lost a dominant force underneath the basket in graduate Bri Quick, but return five seniors who will each play key roles. Kindall Seamands, Brandi Fuller, Shelby Apodaca, Morgan Preston and Cierra Nelson will each don the gold and black for one final season.
“These seniors are an amazing group,” Prosenick said. “They’re great leaders on and off the court and are really great with the younger girls. They spend time with the junior high kids and help bring them along. They take care of each other.”
The Lady Panthers last made a state tournament appearance in 2016-2017 after going 8-2 in conference play. Similar to any other season, it’s what they work toward. And it’s what they’ll be working toward throughout the new season.
“We have a lot to work on still,” Prosenick pointed out. “We’re really stressing our defense this season. It’s what we want to be known for but it’s something we’ve struggled with the past few seasons.
“We want to take baby steps and continue working on the things we know that will make us better. It’s a long season ahead of us.”
Wright may have owned a top-five offense last season, but an improvement on their 14th-ranked defense could put them into further contention down the stretch of the upcoming season.
With good solid fundamentals and excitement on the court, more wins could soon follow.
Along with a vocal group of seniors, the Lady Panthers will be aided by Nelson, from whom Prosenick is eager to see contributions.
“Cierra (Nelson) brings a lot to the table,” she said. “She’s a solid player underneath the basket.”
Wright will also be helped by junior Jozi Edwards, who returns this season after not playing last year and, similar to Nelson, brings a unique skill set to the court.
“She’s come back and over the last two weeks has really improved and made great strides,” Prosenick said. “She’ll be a huge asset on the court with her speed.”
Names like Teresa Meza and Mikaela Easton will also be key contributors for the Lady Panthers.
Three early season tournaments this month will be crucial for Prosenick and her players to assess where they stand and which parts of their game will need to be adjusted before conference play opens up in January.
They open up play this weekend when they host the Coal Miners Classic, but already, Prosenick is happy with where her team stands.
“They really are gelling and taking care of each other,” she said.

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