There is still work to be done, but coach Mike Crumpler says the Sterlington Lady Panthers have had a productive summer.
Sterlington wrapped up its summer girls basketball schedule Tuesday with three games at the ULM team camp.
Coach Mike Crumpler's most pressing challenge at the moment is filling the void left by the graduation of four-year starter and leading scorer Mimi Gray and point guard Saige Doty.
Michaela Waters takes over at the point with Ashleigh Davis as the backup.
"Michaela has been going to the basket better," Crumpler said.
Davis may have made the most improvement of anyone on the roster over the summer.
"Ashleigh has been working real hard," Crumpler said. "Her shot has really improved, and she's getting a little more confident with her ball-handling."
Kaela Mullins, a first-team All-District 2-2A selection last season, will run the offense in certain situations.
"Against somebody long like Carroll and Richwood, Kaela is going to have to step up and play (point guard)," Crumpler said. "We are going to have to have someone who can throw the ball over the defense."
Last season, the Lady Panthers compiled a 24-9 record while advancing to the second round of the Class 2A state playoffs. Sterlington has spent the summer preparing to move into Class 3A.
All-in-all, Crumpler was pleased with the Lady Panthers' progress over the summer.
"The ones that showed up were pretty much here every day," Crumpler said, noting that a couple of freshmen did not join the team for summer activities. "Everybody improved on one area of their game. That being said, everybody still has an area of their game that they really need to work on. I thought we got better, and we will continue to get better when we start practice.
"It was a productive summer."
Along with Davis, sophomore McKenzie Gray caught Crumpler's attention during summer play.
"McKenzie came on really well," Crumpler said.
Sterlington went 1-2 at ULM winning its middle game against French Settlement, bookended by losses to Byrd and Mangham.
One of the Lady Panthers' weaknesses — a lack of depth — was exposed as only eight players suited up for the camp.
"We have some kids out right now," Crumpler said, "but our depth is going to be a question, for sure."
Junior Jayla Stewart, a returning starter, missed Tuesday's games with a knee injury.
"Jayla has been shooting the ball really well," Crumpler said. "She was dribbling and going to the basket before her injury."
Sterlington finished the summer 10-10. Besides ULM, the Lady Panthers attended team camps at Ouachita and West Ouachita and hosted their own event.
"We played 20 games this summer, which is about normal," Crumpler said. "We played 15 or 16 last year."
Crumpler will continue to open the gym for the remainder of the summer.
"We'll continue to work out. We'll do some fun stuff and some light lifting. After Labor Day, we'll get in the weight room and work on our conditioning," Crumpler said. "Once school starts, we'll start putting some stuff in during seventh hour. We'll start after school practices in mid-October."