Confidence and mental toughness are two qualities the Prairie City Lady Panthers basketball team hopes will take them into postseason action this year.
Several of the girls on the basketball team were also part of the volleyball team that won the 1A district volleyball championship tournament.
Brianna Zweygardt, one of three seniors on this year’s basketball team, said she’s hopeful the energy gained from a successful volleyball season will carry over to basketball.
“We’re definitely excited and looking forward to competing with the higher-level teams this year,” she said. “I’m confident that we can make it farther than we have in the past.”
The other two seniors leading the way this year are Cassie Hire and Megan Camarena.
Camarena said the team members have known each other their entire lives.
“We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” she said. “I’m really excited to see how well we work together this season.”
Hire added the team is close with good chemistry.
“I’m just excited to play basketball and get along with my teammates,” she said.
Prairie City’s schedule starts off with a rigorous round of travel to three tournaments in Maupin, Condon and Klamath Falls.
“We’re looking to see some tough competition preseason,” said head coach Bo Workman. “Before we get into league in January, we’ll deal with adversity, traveling, with no home game and long bus trips.”
This is Workman’s second year as coach, and overall, he has four years of coaching experience.
He said his main goals for the team are “improvement from last year and being mentally prepared, day in and day out — that’s the biggest one.”
The team of 11 is working on mastering “mental toughness and individual skills, footwork — that can never be mastered,” he said.
Joining the three seniors this year are one junior, four sophomores and three freshmen.
Workman said he’s looking for Camarena and junior Haley Pfefferkorn to step into bigger roles on the team this season.
“I’m expecting a lot from my freshmen and sophomores,” Workman said. “We’re going to be a young team.”
He added the three freshmen are on the right track.
“I want them to learn from the seniors,” he said. “Overall, they have a desire to be here and want to work hard.”
Paige Moore, who had an injury, will be this year’s team manager.
The Panthers placed fourth in last season’s High Desert District Tournament, one place short of continuing on to the state playoffs.
They first beat Monument/Dayville 44-30 in the quarterfinals, then took a 68-20 loss to Adrian in the semifinals. Jordan Valley beat Prairie City in a close 54-47 match for third place. In the championship game, No. 2-seeded Crane beat No. 1-seeded Adrian.
This season, Prairie City will face Crane, Adrian, Jordan Valley, Monument/Dayville, Harper, Huntington and Burnt River.
Workman said he expects Crane, Adrian and Jordan Valley to again be their greatest challengers.
“They’re tough teams every year, but I think we can be in the middle of it, if we prepare ourselves right,” he said.
Prairie City girls basketball schedule
Dec. 1: @ South Wasco Tourney vs. Trout Lake in Maupin at 3 p.m.
Dec. 2: @ South Wasco Tourney vs. TBA in Maupin
Dec. 8: @ Condon Christmas Tournament vs. Ione in Condon at 3 p.m.
Dec. 9: @ Condon Christmas Tournament vs. Condon/Wheeler in Condon at 2 p.m.
Dec. 14: @ Triad Tourney vs. Pacific in Klamath Falls at 3:45 p.m.
Dec. 15: @ Triad Tourney vs. Horizon Christian in Klamath Falls at 3:45 p.m.
Dec. 16: @ Triad Tourney vs. Klamath Union JV in Klamath Falls at 10:45 a.m.
Dec. 21: vs. Powder Valley in Prairie City at 6 p.m.
Jan. 2: @ Ukiah/Long Creek JV in Ukiah (JV game) at 4 p.m.
Jan. 6: vs. Monument/Dayville in Prairie City at 2 p.m.
Jan. 12: @ Crane at 6 p.m.
Jan. 13: @ Harper at 2 p.m. (MST)
Jan. 16: vs. Burnt River at 4 p.m.
Jan. 19: vs. Four Rivers JV (JV game) at 6 p.m.
Jan. 20: @ Adrian at 2 p.m. (MST)
Jan 26: vs. Jordan Valley at 5 p.m. (MST)
Jan. 27: @ Huntington at 2 p.m.
Feb. 2: vs. Ukiah/Long Creek JV (JV game) at 6 p.m.
Feb. 3: @ Burnt River in Unity at 2 p.m.
Feb. 9: @ Monument/Dayville in Dayville at 6 p.m.
Feb. 10: vs. Crane at 2 p.m.
Feb. 15: 1A-8 High Desert District Tournament in John Day