NEW FRANKLIN The Manchester girls basketball team is looking to turn the corner as the new year approaches as the Lady Panthers aim to make a run at their first PAC-7 title since 2012-13.
In order to do so, the Lady Panthers will have to overcome somewhat of a slow start as their record stands at (2-2 league, 4-4 overall) following last Saturday's 56-42 win over Northwest.
"We've had a ok start to the season, we had a couple of tough losses," stated second-year head coach Shawn Zavodney. "We also played some very fine talent, I would never want to take away from another teams win. I still have confidence we can make some noise in the PAC-7. We just need to keep working hard."
One of the teams most difficult setbacks in the early going came against Fairless where they squandered a 17-point second-half lead eventually falling to the Falcons 47-46.
According to Zavodney, the loss could be used as a learning tool as the season progresses. "That was one of my toughest losses as a coach to date," he said. "We'll learn from the mistakes made and expect that not to happen again,"
In other court appearances this year, the Panthers defeated Copley 50-49, Triway 45-33 and Coventry 45-24, while falling to Norwayne 45-42, Marlington 58-44 and Orrville 64-46.
The Copley win was the team's marquee victory of the campaign beating a Division I opponent at the Lady Chipps classic. The Panthers prevailed on a 3-point buzzer beater by sophomore standout Karli Anker.
Anker, a 5-6 guard, has been steady force for Manchester averaging team-highs of 20 points, three assists and three steals. Senior center Liz Seidel is averaging nearly a double-double with eight points and 10 rebounds per outing.
Zavodney mentioned strong play from newcomers Becca Stahl and Abby White, which has helped bolster the line-up.
"Becca (Stahl), and Abby (White) are now up giving us a few minutes as well," Zavodney said. "These are critical minutes that our starters need right now and anytime we can develop at the varsity level without having it hurt is a positive."
Other members in the Panthers rotation include sophomore guard Haley Webb, senior guard Jessalyn Webb, senior forward Maddy McFadden, sophomore guard Chole Perry and sophomore center Brionna Brown.
With nearly one-third of the campaign in the books, Manchester will look to jell in hopes of a strong finish.
"I hate to sound like a broken record, but I really do expect to win big games and get better each time out," said Zavodney. "We used to have a reputation as the best in the PAC for many years running and we all want that back. As long as the coaches and girls are willing to put in the time we will get there with the talent we have."