For Tiffany Bias, Maddie Chapin, and Kaitlin Tennyson, basketball season ended sooner than ever before.
The Andover Central Jaguars lost to Bishop Carroll in the sub-state round of Class 5A. It was the first time in their high school careers that the trio did not reach the state tournament. The Jaguars won the Class 4A title in 2008.
"Not going to the state tournament has been eating at them since they got off the court," coach Stana Jefferson said. "Sitting at home definitely pushed them."
If the Jaguars are to get back to the state tournament, it will be Bias who leads them. The All-State guard and Oklahoma State signee is the perfect floor leader, Jefferson said. Her ability to create off the dribble makes her a feared scorer, and her court vision allows her to find open teammates in tight situations.
"She's been everything a coach could ask for, Jefferson said. "She's a very calming influence and someone who always knows what to do."
Tennyson will also play a big part on offense. After struggling at the start of last year, she turned things on in the second half of the season. Jefferson hopes that last year's playing time will help solidify her contribution to the team.
"She's really gotten stronger. That along with her experience will make her much more consistent," Jefferson said.
Chapin anchors the defense, and while only 5-foot-8, she's the team's best rebounder and inside presence.
Though Jefferson will depend mostly on her three seniors, the underclassmen are pretty experienced. The team struggled early last season with several players trying to find their roles. This season, Jefferson thinks the team should find success earlier.
"They have more responsibility and accountability," Jefferson said. "We have two starting positions open and it will make things even more competitive."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
PLAYERS TO WATCH
The Panthers will utilize their quickness to make up for the lack of depth inside. "We hope to press a lot and turn that into some easy layups,” Fuller said. “æ.æ.æ.æ. We don't have a big dominating presence inside, but we have quickness and we're going to run the floor and push the ball."