Pikeville Lady Panthers' eyeing opportunity to play inside Rupp Arena

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Last year's final game for the Pikeville Lady Panthers wasn't the outcome they wanted, but they are using that game as a lesson.

"When I look back at that game, I guess the biggest thing that stands out is that I don't think we scored like we should have," said Pikeville girls' basketball head coach Kristy Orem. "We always talk about that we have got to score 60 points. So we have really got to make an effort to work with our girls on their shots and shots off of the dribble in particular because it seems like we are either hitting threes or lay-ups when you look at last year's games."

Not only has the Lady Panthers' offense been a key focus this offseason but so has their defense.

"We have definitely locked down better on our defense and come up with some more plays, we are really going to be a tough team this year," said senior guard Grace Bartley.

"We are really focusing on our defense this year because that was a major problem for us last year, and we are thinking, the more defense we play the better it is going to be," said senior center Leslie Stewart. "If we can play fast, play smart, get layups, that is what we wanted to do so we can play defense and get the ball back."

With only two seniors on this year's roster, the Lady Panthers' depth will play a huge factor.

"Really you look at our team and you might say well we are young, we only have two seniors. But we have a depth of experience. These girls have been playing for a really long time," said Orem.

With that experience, the Lady Panthers want nothing short of playing on the Rupp Arena floor.

"To be playing at Rupp Arena, that is what is so special about this year is just to be able to go to the circle at the end of every practice and say and that is to be playing at Rupp because for all of my life, I have heard boys go to the circle and say those exact same things and we haven't been able to do that, that is what makes this year even more special is that we are all playing for a chance to play at Rupp Arena, that is the ultimate goal, I think about that every day," said Orem.

The Pikeville Lady Panthers rank in at No. 3 in the girls' preseason Alice Lloyd College Mountain Top 10.

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