Plenty of experience found on Panthers’ varsity lists

Both teams are looking to do better in districts than last year.

BONNEY LAKE GIRLS

It’s an experienced group that will take the court this season for coach Dee Nelons, who counts seven seniors on the early-season varsity roster.

The list starts with Maisyn Jensen, who received honorable mention on last season’s all-Pierce County League 3A squad, and includes Jessica Day, Nicole Harris, Alexis Brooks, Jordann Hofstrand, Payton Schelin and Abby Frame. The rest of the varsity squad includes junior Carleigh DeLapp, sophomore Ashley Hollenbeck and freshmen Skilar McLean and Brooke Mansfield.

The squad will be looking to rebound from a season that brought a 4-10 mark in PCL play and a 4-16 overall record during the regular season. The sixth-place finish was enough to qualify the Panther girls for the district tournament, where they won one of three games.

BONNEY LAKE BOYS

Coach Sam Oliver and his Panthers will be counting on an experienced lineup to bring greater success this season.

A year ago, Bonney Lake’s boys placed sixth in the eight-team Pierce County League 3A with a 5-9 record (9-11 overall). That was enough to get into the district tourney, where the Panthers dropped two games and were eliminated; it was the team’s second straight playoff appearance.

This season’s varsity roster includes seniors Tyson Lawes, Kyle Schoen, Elijah Brown and Jaedin Falby; juniors Braeden Goff and Drew Hollenbeck; and sophomores Austin Mitchell, Dylan Preston and Champ Spencer.

The most notable among that group are Lawes, who led the Panthers in scoring last season at more than 12 points per game;Spencer, who played in every game and averaged 9.3 points per outing; and Brown, the third varsity returnee, who will be counted on for leadership and court experience.

Oliver sees reason for optimism and knows what it will take to record victories. “If this year’s team can embrace our program identity of 100 percent effort, focus, and a positive attitude, we should be able to continue to find success,” he said.

Teams in the past have embraced that mentality, he said, and the recipe for success hasn’t changed. “It’s just a matter of mental toughness and grit,” he concluded.

Oliver saw this year’s crew in action for the first time Nov. 24 when the Panthers turned out for the White River Jamboree. Tonight, Wednesday, brings the regular-season opener, a home contest against the neighboring squad from White River.

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