With three starting spots up for grabs, the door is open for freshmen to play right away at Sterlington.

Four-year starters Kaela Mullins and Jayla Stewart and three-year starter Ashleigh Davis graduated after helping the Lady Panthers to an 18-16 record, including a surprising 5-5 mark in District 2-3A.

Senior Michaela Waters and Jayme Broadway return at point guard and forward, respectively. Waters is being counted on as the centerpiece of the offense.

“Michaela has stepped up this summer,” second-year coach Caroline Oliphant said. “She is taking her leadership role seriously. She is showing up every day and being more vocal.”

Freshmen Hope Tucker and Emma Brown have made strong impressions this summer. Other newcomers in the mix are Genesis Broadway, Tonyesha Davis and Makayla Hill.

“We are really going to have to count on some freshmen,” Oliphant said. “Hope Tucker and Emma Brown are going to have to contribute some big minutes, quick.”

Genesis Broadway is expected to complement her cousin, Jayme Broadway, on the boards.

“Genesis has good size and a lot of potential,” Oliphant said.

Also in the hunt for playing time are senior Hanna Farrar, junior Kirston Green and sophomore Weslee Duncan.

“Hanna, Kirston and Weslee have put in a lot of work this summer and have gotten better,” Oliphant said following the Sterlington Team Camp earlier this week.

As is to be expected from an inexperienced team, Oliphant says the Lady Panthers are far from being a finished product.

“We’re trying to get the freshman acclimated to the way we play defense, and making sure everybody is in the right spot,” Oliphant said. “Offensively, we’re working on our ball movement. We’re not going to be able to put the ball in Kaela’s hands and say, ‘We need you to go make a play.’ We can’t kick the ball out to Ashleigh so she can knock down a 3. We’ don’t have that luxury anymore.”

Sterlington will close out its summer schedule Monday and Tuesday at the West Monroe Team Camp.

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