Photo Courtesy of Michael's Photography
The Lady Eagles open their 2021-2022 season this Saturday at home against Bellwood with high expectations and full confidence in their team.
With a talented group of veteran starters and a short but talented bench that can contribute whenever called upon, the Lady Eagles are a favorite to repeat as Mountain League and District Champions.
Last year, Tyrone dominated the Mountain League and ended the season as District Champions, reaping their revenge from the previous season. This season, Lady Eagle’s motto is “The Small but the Mighty,” as they only have a total of 11 girls on the squad.
But what Head Coach Luke Rhoades lacks in numbers, he more than makes up for in talent.
The Eagles are hoping to build on last year’s successes and make it farther than the last two years in the state playoffs. The goal for this year is to win Tyrone’s first state title, and Rhoades is confident in his girls.
In the 2019-2020 season, the team made it all the way to Elite Eight, but their season was cut promptly after news of the pandemic. In their most recent season, the bracket was smaller (due to COVID restrictions), and the girls lost in the Elite Eight once again.
“I’m definitely very excited for this season. I think we have a solid core group of girls who have committed themselves to the hard work and dedication of being part of this program. It is not easy to be a committed member of a successful team, but the everlasting impact of learning the dedication and devotion to working at something will be something that sticks with them well into the future,” said Rhoades.
Coming back for this season are four returning starters: Jaida Parker, Stephanie Ramsey, Emma Getz, and Kayelin Gibbons.
Parker is a key member, having recently committed to play college basketball at Millersville University. Starting since her freshman year, Parker is an experienced, all-around player who makes her presence known anytime she is on the court.
Ramsey, also starting since her freshman year, will share the role of point guard with Getz. She has the ability to get the offense started, analyze the defense, and break the press. On offense, Ramsey is not someone teams will want to leave open.
Getz brings intensity as well as speed to the court. Her specialty is attacking the hoop, finishing around the rim, or finding her open teammate for the shot. Defensively, Getz often presents a threat with her ability to communicate.
Gibbons will continue to hold up the post. Serving as the main rebounder, Gibbons dominates the boards, having points mainly off of put-backs, but will also impress with an outside shot this year. Defensively, she provides height and size and has the ability to guard other posts.
Senior Marissa Lewis will be the final of the five starters, replacing the loss of Chesney Saltsgiver from last year. Marissa will bring a height advantage to the team and is a versatile player. She will often fill in for various roles and has the knowledge of every position for each play.
Sophomore Bree Paul will often be the first off the bench. Paul has an impressive shot that will make important contributions to the game. On top of her offense, she should be a key defender.
This year’s team contains a total of four seniors, all of whom are looking forward to their final year.
“This is the year I have full confidence in our team and our ability. When we work together, we really see our talent and love for this sport. I know that we will succeed and I can’t wait for the coming games,” said senior Emma Getz.
The opening game will be the annual Pink Out game on Saturday, December 11th, 3:00 pm at the Tyrone Area Middle School gym against rival Bellwood-Antis.