Two years ago, while providing the play-by-play for a high school basketball game for Comcast, I was impressed by a couple of young ladies on the Lakeside High School team. One was a hustling point guard, the other a solid wing player.
I was impressed because the two players were holding their own in a varsity game despite the fact that they were only freshman. Those two players, Carolyn Hennecken and Tishal Turknett, are now juniors, and the experience they earned over the past two years is paying off for the Lady Panthers.
At the time this was written, Lakeside stood at 9-2 on the season and appeared to be prepared to make a playoff run in Region 3-AAAA. One of the Lady Panthers' losses was a 43-41 heartbreaker to Silver Bluff in the semifinals of the Robolli's Christmas Tournament. The Lady Bulldogs went on the capture the title the next night.
In their nine victories, Lakeside has been dominant. It has won those games by an average of 22 points.
The key to its success has been the progression of their pair of talented juniors. Hennecken, a 5-foot-5 guard, has blossomed into one of the CSRA's premier point guards. She is second on the team in scoring, averaging 14.2 points per game. She also leads the team, and is among the leaders in the entire area, in assists (4.2) and steals (3.7).
Hennecken also has continued to improve her shooting during the past couple of seasons. She is shooting better than 51 percent from the field, including 36 percent from 3-point range. Hennecken also chips in nearly four rebounds per game.
Turknett has been equally effective for head coach Mo McCormick. The 5-7 off- guard leads the team in scoring, pumping in 15.9 points per contest. Turknett also averages 4.4 rebounds and nearly three assists per game. She is tops for the Lady Panthers from the free-throw line, shooting an impressive 77 percent.
The great thing for the Lady Panthers is the fact that these two standouts and virtually all of their key contributors will be back next year. However, let's not look too far ahead. This team has the ability to make some noise in the region this year.
If they continue to get solid contributions from 6-foot senior Lindsey Widenaar (six points and three rebounds per game) and 5-7 senior Chandra Wideman (six rebounds per game), the Lady Panthers could be state tournament-bound.
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