PANORA — Kylee Boettcher played in the state tournament during her days wearing a Panorama girls basketball uniform. She takes over a highly successful program that has since been to the tourney twice and seriously threatened to play on the big stage in several other seasons.
However, the Panthers enter the 2019-2020 campaign having to fill several major holes, and Boettcher is not shy about the challenge facing her girls.
“We have some experience returning, but, of course, it doesn’t take long looking at the numbers to realize we will be tested,” she said. “I believe we are going to have another good year. The key will be staying patient and being willing to work hard to put the new pieces in place.”
“I really like our approach and the attitude I have seen so far,” Boettcher continued. “It just comes down to becoming used to playing together as a group. The fundamentals and skill sets are there. It is really only a matter of being comfortable with what we are doing, because we are changing up some things on both ends of the floor.”
The Panthers were 22-2 last year and 14-1 in WCAC play. The new-look team will have to replace 72 percent of the rebounding and 70 percent of the scoring from that unit.
Sophomore Payton Beckman returns to the starting lineup. She scored 209 points last year, an average of 8.7 per game, with clearing 65 rebounds, or 2.7 per contest. Beckman splashed 26-of-73 (35.6 percent) of her 3-point attempts, 41-of-58 free throws (70.7 percent) and dished out 40 assists while making 72 steals.
Senior Anna Holloway is back after average 2.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per game. She had 40 assists and 15 steals.
The only other Panther who saw appreciable playing time was junior Ella Waddle, who averaged 3.2 points while coming away with 33 steals and handing out 25 assists.
Anna Holloway is the lone senior, with Waddle, Shey Storesund and Jaden Johnston the only juniors. Beckman, Abbi Holloway, Laci Rishel, Angel Poldberg, Grace Webner and Gabby Webner give the team six sophomores, with freshmen McKenna Burns, Patricia Underwood, Jazmyn Sellers, Keira Simmons and Emily Lutz rounding out the roster.
Boettcher being assisted by Aly Dahlhauser and Robyn Ploeger.
Panorama was to have started their season Tuesday, but inclement weather forced a postponement. Harlan will now visit Panora for a junior varsity/varsity girls-only set at 6 p.m. on Dec. 12.
The Panther girls and boys will host Woodward-Granger Friday.