SEASON PREVIEW: COMMODORE PERRY
Change is constant in high school, and sometimes these changes aren't limited to the students. Such is the case with the Lady Panthers, who have lost three-year coach Jennifer Fagley, who left with a 21-45 overall record.
She will be replaced by Rick Adsit, who spent the previous two years as an assistant at General McLane. Fagley had led her team to the playoffs in the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 seasons, but Adsit's team also made it to the postseason those years as well, losing to Franklin and Hickory.
Many of Commodore Perry's starters from last year are also gone, including most of the starting lineup: Shannon Lackey (223 points), Crystal Keck (168 points), Shannon Bowser (139 points) and Christy Williams (103 points).
The Lady Panthers return just one letterwinner from last year, 5-7 junior guard-forward Tina Ramer (127 points). In addition, 5-11 forward Mimi Schafer, 5-2 guard Sarah Wilson, 5-6 guard Ashley Fairlamb and 5-5 forward Lacey Patterson are the senior core coach Adsit is counting on to soak up minutes and provide leadership.
Schafer, Wilson and Fairlamb played in a limited capacity last year, and Patterson has transferred back to Commodore Perry after a year at Meadville.
Other players looking to make a contribution are: sophomores Darby Fairlamb, 5-6 guard; Jessica Gainor, 5-5 guard; Allison George, 5-6 guard-forward; Shannon Greathouse, 5-3 guard; Korilyn McCune, 5-6 guard-forward; and Kayla Sindlinger, 5-9 forward; and freshmen Barbie Boyles, 5-5 guard; Carrie McConnell, 5-4 guard-forward; Vicki Bates, 5-2 guard; Kristine Lazzar, 5-5 guard-forward; Krystal Lazzar, 5-5 guard-forward; Deanna Loreno, 5-4 guard-forward; and Amy Sokol, 5-5 forward.
As for the transition to playing for a new coach?
"We were shaky in the beginning, but I see improvement every day," Adsit said. "Everything is new for this team."
Indeed, everything from the playbook on is different. This year, the Lady Panthers plan to use a motion-style offense, with either a man-to-man or 1-3-1 zone on the defensive side of the ball.
Coach Adsit has already seen his team scrimmage, and one of them was against his old team, General McLane.
"We played pretty even in the first couple of quarters, but we got beat the last two quarters," said Adsit.
Such could be the case with the whole team thus far, as Adsit said his girls have their good days and bad days with the new system.
"They're all working hard to get to know the program," he said. "The girls know what they have to do to play the way I want them to play. There are letdowns, but every team has letdowns. I can't say enough about how hard these girls are working for me."
The schedule makers weren't kind to the young team either, as they start the year with FCVC powerhouse Linesville. Also on the schedule twice are Class AAAA Meadville and District 10 Class AA champs Conneaut Lake once, as well as a tough Grove City team. Then, they get into the league schedule, which includes the always-ready Kennedy Christian and a playoff-tested West Middlesex.
Also in Class A this year is Sharpsville, which could be capable of an upset. Throw in a pair of games with each Greenville, Mercer, Reynolds, and Wilmington, as well as singles with Clarion, Venango Christian and West Forest, and the Lady Panthers have their hands full.
"We're going to have a lot of tough games this year," said Adsit. "But we have 16 games until playoff time, so we can build up to the playoffs."
Assisting coach Adsit will be veteran junior varsity coach Sarah Leamy and junior high coach Marsha McKelvey. -- By Herald writer Scott DeJulia
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