Wildcat girls face tough challenge Friday at Paola
Last year the thought of squaring off with Paola — a state semifinalist — would probably have been daunting for Dwight Spencer’s young, inexperienced girls basketball squad.
But as Spencer’s 2009-10 Wildcats’ record illustrates, this is a new year. De Soto has matched its win total from last year, beginning the season 3-3.
With that, and the fact that it has been competitive in all of its games with the exception of Olathe South — a traditional Class 6A powerhouse — the Panthers should expect a completely new and improved team to roll into town Friday.
“Paola always has a good squad,” Spencer said. “They lost a couple of the best players in the conference from last year — an NCAA Division 1 player who is getting playing time already and another one that now goes to Emporia State.”
The two players Spencer is referring to are Kansas State University guard Taelor Karr and Emporia State University’s Rachel Hanf, another guard. Both were All-State selections for the Panthers a season ago.
Shelbi Petty and Kelsey Fisher provided the offensive spark for the Wildcats in the teams’ last contest, tallying 14 points apiece.
For De Soto to find success Friday, Spencer said he expected Petty to continue playing well offensively.
“Shelbi has had some great games this season,” he said. “She’s had a 28-point game, a 22-point game.”
With Ashley and Katie Gorman contributing down low, as well as converted small forward Katie Williams, Petty and Fisher could see plenty of open looks as the Wildcats begin the conference portion of their schedule.