PITTSBURG — Wes Wood spent his last two years coaching girls’ basketball at Wewoka before taking over as the head basketball and baseball coach for the 2013-14 school year at Pittsburg.
With Wood at the helm, both the Lady Panthers and Panthers begin their basketball season dreaming of better finishes than last year.
“If we play to our capability and stay with it, we should be in the hunt to go to Oklahoma City,” Wood said of the Lady Panthers onTuesday, referring to the Class B State Tournament.
The 2013-14 Lady Panthers have seven juniors and seniors on a nine-girl roster. Three of those upperclassmen started for last year’s team that reached the consolation semifinals at Regionals, starting with senior captain Chandler Billingsley.
“Leading scorer, versatile, one of those players you hate to lose next year,” Wood said of Billingsley. “She can play. If I can get here a little meaner, that’ll be even better.”
Wood said Billingsley played forward last year and might do so again this year, but she also has the ball-handling skill necessary to be a point guard. As guard, Billingsley will work with Trei Haynes, another senior guard and captain who, like Billingsley, played on the 2010-11 Pittsburg team that made State.
“Trei gives us good defense, especially on another team’s guards, and a good shooter from the baseline,” Wood said.
Junior Erin Cross rounds out Pittsburg’s starting guards as an outside shooter. Sophomore Alissa Maloy will be one of the team’s forwards, while junior Leighah Carney gives Pittsburg a fourth guard option when they want to move Billingsley to the post.
“She’s a little bit undersized at that position, but she plays very physical, which I like, and very rarely gets tired,” Wood said of Maloy.
Wood said Mikal Wainscott could eventually be Pittsburg’s other starting post, but for now she’ll come off the bench as she recovers from a preseason illness.