The Saratoga Sun -

Lady Panthers ready to remake history

Group looks to accomplish what hasn't been done in at least 25 years

 

December 5, 2018

Joshua Wood

Your 2018-2019 Saratoga Lady Panthers Girls Basketball team: Front Row from left, Heather Wallace, Samantha Fiedor, Melissa Pinedo, Mychaela Jackman, Katelyn Bifano and Samantha Duke. Middle row from left, Kelly Glode, Kaitlyn Campbell, Tasia Daley, Mattie Stevenson, Nikki Bauer, Savannah Wells, Jaden Campbell and Sara Gonzales. Back row from left, Haylie Wells, Lexi Herring, Aubrey Berger, Taylor Bennett, Jenna Dew, Tiffany Bauer, Kylee Conseen, Shianne Baker, Dallys Chitwood and Makiya Johnson.

The last few years have been rough for the Saratoga Lady Panthers when it comes to basketball. They haven't had a conference win since the 2014/2015 season and last year they only had three non-conference wins. It was 1981 the last time the Lady Panthers won a state title and the last time they showed up at the State Tournament was in 1983. Each season, however, is another chance, another possibility at rewriting history.

Last year, the girls had seven girls on their varsity roster and were lacking Aubrey Berger due to injury. This year, the Lady Panthers have four seniors; Shianne Baker, Mychaela Jackman, Tiffany Bauer and Mattie Stevenson and all four have been with the program since their freshman year. Berger also returns this year, though the season will be without Makiya Johnson as she was injured during the State volleyball tournament.

"We're really optimistic about this year," said Heather Bartlett, head coach of the Saratoga Lady Panthers. "I have really high expectations of what these girls can accomplish this year."

Bartlett isn't the only one with high expectations. WyoPreps, which tracks sports throughout the state of Wyoming from 4A down to 1A, recently released their pre-season basketball poll which includes voting from coaches and members of the media. While the voting has no bearing on how the season will go, there is confidence in the Saratoga girls this year with 12 votes, putting them as the 7th ranked team in 1A - just shy of being in the top five.

The first showing this season for the Lady Panthers will be at the Burns Winter Classic on Dec. 7 and 8. Saratoga will face off against the Southeast Lady Cyclones at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Burns Elementary School. The Lady Panthers will then play the Pine Bluffs Lady Hornets at 1 p.m. on Saturday, also at Burns Elementary School, followed by a game against the Lingle Lady Doggers at 7 p.m. at Burns High School.

"The Burns tournament is really good for us to go to because ... it's just a whole different playing field for us to play teams that we don't see the rest of the year. New faces, fresh teams. So it's really good for us to go there and play against those teams we don't get to play the rest of the year," Bartlett said.

The first official game before winter break for Saratoga will be when they host the Hanna, Elk Mountain and Medicine Bow (HEM) Lady Miners at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 18 at Saratoga High School.

 

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