Manchester entered this year winners of 39 of the last 40 regular-season games but finds itself sitting at 2-2 after the first two weeks of the season. The Lady Panthers have wins over Akron Garfield at 84-33 and Norton at 60-56 and have dropped decisions to Wadsworth (84-33) and Canton Central Catholic (45-44).
Manchester entered this year winners of 39 of the last 40 regular-season games but finds itself sitting at 2-2 after the first two weeks of the season.
The Lady Panthers have wins over Akron Garfield at 84-33 and Norton at 60-56 and have dropped decisions to Wadsworth (84-33) and Canton Central Catholic (45-44).
Despite the uncharacteristically slow start, ninth-year head coach Tucker Pappas feels his squad has the potential for a strong season and sees things coming together sooner rather than later.
“When we entered this year, I wasn’t real sure what we had. We lost four starters, and I knew there were going to be some growing pains,” Pappas said. “Our starting line-up (this year) has two juniors, two sophomores and a freshman.
“We got some talent, but we’re very young. I wasn’t sure how fast things were going to come together, but I’ve seen some encouraging signs. We played three of our first four games on the road and beat a real good Norton team. Our losses were to Wadsworth, who is one of the top Division I schools in the state, and Central, who is very strong. We’re not there yet, but I feel that we can be a very good team.”
Junior guard Kayci Krzynowek, the lone returning starter, has been solid so far, averaging 15.2 points, 3.5 assists and 2.5 steals per outing. She tallied a career-high 24 points in her squad’s win over Norton.
Krzynowek has scored in double-digits in all four of the Lady Panthers’ contests, netting 12 against Garfield and Wadsworth and 13 against Central.
Sophomore forward Alex Klein is also off to a good start, averaging 11.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game. Klein poured in 24 points in the season opener versus Akron Garfield.
Junior forward Karley Dougherty averages 11.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per games. She has scored in double figures in three of the team’s first four games.
She is the team’s top 3-point specialist, connecting on 39 percent of her attempts (7 of 18).
Rounding out the unit’s starting five are sophomore Emma Kreakbuam and freshman Grier Cowles.
Kreakbaum had a career-best 23 points against Garfield.
Top bench players are Brittni Porter, Allie Richmond and Sara Morgan.
Morgan Petroff, a 6-foot post player, hasn’t seen action this season yet due to an injury but should return sometime in January..
“Our youth has shown a lot in games this year, but our kids really play hard, and it is a matter of time before they put it all together,” Pappas said. "We are going to look like a much different team as the season progresses and the kids gain experience.”