When the Pell City Lady Panthers hit the basketball court this year they will be continuing the lessons learned over their past seasons and head coach Misty Griffin said that she expects they will perform well.

"We are excited about the prospects of a successful season,” Griffin, who is coaching her third year at PCHS, said. “Of course, this team expects to continue the steady pattern of improvement we've shown thus far - three years ago we won four games, last season we won 10 and this year we want to be better. By far, this team is the most fundamentally sound of all the groups I've had and the team chemistry is outstanding.”

Griffin, who coached her team into the semifinals last year, said the competition in the region is one of the strongest in the state.

The Lady Panthers have hosted the state runners up for the past two seasons (Gadsden City 06-07 and Clay-Chalkville 07-08).

“But this season it has re-aligned,” Griffin said. “Gadsden City and Oxford remain unchanged but Hewitt-Trussville replaces Clay-Chalkville.”

She said that Hewitt has had a successful program lately. “Last season they were an overtime away from the regional finals game."

She said that her team tries to focus on the process instead of the end result. “Hopefully we learned some things from summer team camp at Tennessee Tech and practice thus far. At Tech we played some strong teams who played a different style--a more physical style--and initially it looked like it shocked us. Both mentally and physically it took its toll on us and we didn't have a good week. So to be proactive heading into the season, we've been working against a practice squad and so far we seem to be adjusting to physical basketball. Our basketball I.Q.'s have been improving as well so we hope to see some transfer."

She said that PCHS seniors Andrelas Allen, Taneria Daniels and Whitlee Morris are providing solid leadership, which is something that is benefiting in the pre-season.

She talked about her roster. “We return four of five starters [this year.] We lost an outstanding player, Glenda Ward, to graduation. Still, we realize that we are fortunate because we return our leading scorer (Daniels) and rebounder (Tish Lane) and those are great cornerstones to continue to build from.”

Daniels has already surpassed 1,000 points so far in her high school career.

“We'll depend on her to bear the brunt of the offensive load but everyone else knows what we expect of them,” Griffin said “The girls fully expect our opponents to focus on Taneria and they understand how they need to contribute for us to be successful. Nobody will be expected to be a super star but everybody will be expected to do what they do well. And they expect each other to become great by seasons end.”

Griffin said that her team has adopted a saying to set the tone for the season ahead that truly reflects who they are: "You're only as strong as your weakest link."

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