“Last season was memorable but you can’t sit on your laurels,” head coach Christopher Long said, entering his sixth season with the Panthers. “You have to keep pushing forward and the returning starters played key roles in what we did last season. They bring back experience and leadership to teach the younger girls what it takes.”
Leading the Panthers will be junior forward Alex Weems who had 23 points and 12 rebounds in their season-opening victory over Villa Rica on Nov. 16. “Alex had a strong first game for us and it shows me what she’s capable of doing this season,” Long said.
Senior Erica Jones averaged more than nine points per contest last season and serves as one of Chapel Hill’s most versatile players on the perimeter and in the post. Sophomore Jasmine Lawrence will also see an increased role in the frontcourt. “We have good stability with our post players,” Long said. Freshman guard Alexia Wallace has impressed in preseason camp to lead the new Panthers’ players in the backcourt rotation.
The Panthers must replace Ashley Chestnut, Earnicia Washington and Kaneisha Mixon, who each averaged more than 12 PPG last season. “People say that we lost a lot of kids from last year and aren’t giving us a fair shot this year,” Long said. “That’s good because we’ll fly under the radar, keep pushing forward and see where we are. The girls are working hard and the new players are eager.”
Chapel Hill returns to action on Dec. 3 at home against Douglas County.