PRAIRIE CITY - Iron-woman basketball will be the name of the game during the 2004/05 season for the Prairie City High School girls team, which is hoping to improve on last year's 2-8 Old Oregon League record and 7-12 overall mark.
With just seven players out for the team, one of the major areas of focus has been getting the girls in shape and being prepared to run and get off some fast, outside shots, said new head coach Penny Black.
"We are very small in numbers, with two new players on the roster, so we have to be ready to go," Black said. "The girls have been working very hard and hustling."
Black is no stranger to the girls, having coached the majority of them since they were in the fifth grade.
"I started out with them in the fifth grade and coached them all through junior high school," she said. "When Gene Mills was the head coach a couple of years ago, I was the assistant."
The Panthers are led by senior Lindy Black, the coach's daughter, who is in her fourth season as a member of the varsity team.
"One of our team goals this year is to make the district playoffs. Since I was a freshman we've never made it, so we'd like to do it this year," Lindy Black said. "Personally, I'd like to be able to support my team as much as I can because we are so few."
Joining Black is senior Melanie Teague, who is a three-year member of the varsity.
"My personal goal this year is to improve my shooting and my dribbling," Teague said.
Junior Kayla Reid is also in her third year on the varsity and will be counted on to do the job under the boards.
Other veteran players include sophomores Bradi Voigt and Danielle Ricco, who will round out the starting five.
"We're hoping to do well this year as a team and we know we are going to have to work hard because we don't have many players," Voigt said.
New players on the roster include senior Jaci Keffer, who said this is her first and last year out for the team.
"What I want to do is get way better at basketball, and I'm working extremely hard at it," Keffer said.
Completing the Prairie City squad is sophomore Meaghan Keffer, who is also out for the team for the first time.
"With some of the inexperienced players we have on the team, we have spent a lot of practice time working on the basics of the game such as passing and shooting," coach Black said. "A lot of this is review, but I think this is going to help everyone out."
Even though Prairie City is now a member of the TriCo League, games are not going to be any easier, coach Black said
"There are several good teams and we aren't going to have a skate just because we are in TriCo," Black said. "Spray and Crane are always tough and Burnt River has four girls who came to our shooting camp who can really shoot the ball well. Monument/Dayville is going to be tough and has some big girls who can go underneath. We got pretty well beat up at times when we were in the Old Oregon League and some of the teams in the TriCo this year are just as strong."
The Lady Tigers opened the season at Union on Tuesday, Nov. 30. They host the annual Prairie City Tournament on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 3-4.