Lady Hoopsters Continue to Impress B-Ball Fans

Photo By Paul Magnuson

Girls’ Team Strikes Impressive, Winning Record in Early Season Stride

Trevor Phipps

Now that school classes have resumed in the RE-2 District and throughout the region, winter sports have returned to the athletic forefront with a bang.

By the time school started back up, all of the winter sports teams had started playing games and matches again after a nearly three week break.

This return of sports comes with some good news: Many of the teams have been winning league games where it really counts since the new year struck. The girls’ basketball team is one athletic club that has come out of the woodworks and been quite successful, faring much better than many fans anticipated.

Before the team suffered a 68-46 loss on the road to Ellicott, they won six games in a row. The Lady Panthers currently have a 6-3 overall record and a 2-2 league record. They are currently listed in ninth place in their 4A/3A Tri-peaks League.

The team’s head coach Craig Macari started with the program a few years ago. When he started, he was working on teaching the girls all the aspects of the game. But now in his fourth year with the team, he is seeing some major improvements.

One significant accomplishment the team made this season was to win the Panther Classics Tournament. The girls played hard and they were thrilled that they took home the first place trophy.

Macari cited rebounding and defense as the major area of improvements. “We have been behind at halftime by double digits and then won by double digits,” the coach said. “Because we go in at halftime and we make adjustments and then the girls go out and execute. And then low and behold, somewhere in the third quarter, we are ahead.”

He did say though, that the girls could improve on making free throws in order to better themselves for the rest of the season. He also said that since they had almost three weeks off, he needs to get everyone back on the court and healthy to play the remainder of the season together.

The coach said that senior Isabella Slocum has been one of his prime star players this season, and she has the statistics to prove it. Slocum currently leads the team in several areas by averaging 13.2 points per game. She also has recorded 14.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 3.3 steals and 1.6 blocks per game.

Slocum also ranks fifth in the state and number one in 3A in rebounds per game and is 19th in picking up double doubles. She also has a 48 percent field goal rate and is in eighth place in 3A with 51 field goals made.

Senior Izabella Newsom has also impressed her coach this year. “She is a great shot and when we can get her shooting, she gets hot and she can carry us,” Macari said. “She is pretty much my go-to shutdown defensive player.”

He also said that senior Sydney Roshek has been a steady and reliable player. He said that all of the athletes on the team have been contributing to the club’s success in their own way.

But, the coach agreed that the Lady Panthers have a long road ahead of them. He explained that out of the eight teams that went to the state championship tournament last years, the girls will have played five of them by the end of the season.

However, the team has already defeated one of the teams that went to the championship last year. He said that the rest of the games will be challenging since Woodland Park is in probably the most competitive league in the state.

This week, the team has a major challenge ahead of them when they take on the first place Colorado Springs Christian School. The girls had a week off in between games and all of this week they have been in practice working on their game plan for the big match on Friday.

The coach encouraged everyone to get out and check out a live boys’ or girls’ basketball game at the Woodland Park High School soon as the winter sports season lasts for another month.

Boys’ Basketball

The boys’ basketball team has also done quite a bit to impress this year. They too, lost a close one last week to Ellicott, but before that they had won four games in a row.

As of last week, the Panthers have a 5-3 overall record and a 2-1 league record. They are currently listed in seventh place in their 4A/3A Tri-Peaks League.

The boys continue play in the regular season this week with two matches. On Wednesday, the Panthers take on the tough 6-0 The Vanguard School Coursers on the road. Then on Friday, they challenge the stellar 7-0 Colorado Springs Christian Lions at home.

Boys’ Hockey

The Ice Panthers came back on the ice after winter break and showed that they mean business. During their first match back in the arena after their vacation, the team beat Pueblo County by a 5-3 score.

The boys currently have a 2-4 overall record and a 2-2 league tally. They currently sit in third place in their 4A South Division.

On Monday the team takes on the 3-6 Palmer Terrors, and then on Friday they challenge the 5-2 Denver East Angels in a non-league match.