Lady Panthers push toward
By Sam Epps
MABANK–It may be too early to start talking about playoff games,
but it’s never too early to begin the run to the playoffs.
The Mabank Lady Panthers have the confidence, speed and drive to
win, and a playoff bid is firmly in their minds.
Monitor Photo/Sam Epps
The 2011-12 Mabank Lady Panther basketball team is (from left,
front row) Morgen Gaona, Allie Duke, Kaitlyn Holyfield, Kourtney
Holyfield and Ashton Norman; (back row) Trudy Marler, Makenna
Allen, Molly Groom, Olivia Pannell, Alex Brady and Cheyenne
Although many of the girls don’t have varsity experience, those
returning players from last year’s team have some playoff
experience under their belts.
“Our depth is a little shallower than last year,” Lady Panther
head coach Ashleigh Weeaks said. “We have a playoff game under
our belt and are playing with a lot of confidence.”
Last year, the Lady Panthers were bi-district champions, but
lost in the Area round of the playoffs to Spring Hill.
This year, even without strong outside shooter Sarah Springer
and the energetic Natalie Torres, the Lady Panthers are
beginning to see several girls step up to fill those shoes.
Three of Weeaks’ seniors have started on the varsity team since
they were freshmen – guard Ashton Norman, forward Cheyenne
Alldredge and post Olivia Pannell.
Pannell is 6-2 and boasts a strong inside game. Off the bench,
the 6-0 Molly Groom is a worthy replacement.
Alldredge and sophomore forward Makenna Allen are both “very
versatile and can play very well inside and outside,” Weeaks
said, while Norman “is at the front of the press, is great with
her hands and very quick.”
Junior point guard Kourtney Holyfield is a difference-maker on
the court. “She’s our rock, without her we are a totally
different team,” Weeaks said.
Weeaks describes her as having great outside shooting ability,
strong defensive penetration, patient and having great vision.
Kaitlyn Holyfield has stepped up and is showing a lot of
confidence and is a valuable asset, Weeaks said.
Morgen Gaona “is our best practice player, she pushes everybody
and has lots of energy,” Weeaks added. “She can replace Natalie
(Torres) in providing that ‘spark’ on the court.”
The bench is in good shape, with plenty of fresh legs ready to
play, but they don’t have a lot of experience.
“When we get in any kind of foul trouble it can be hard to get
back in the groove,” Weeaks commented.
With a current record of 14-6 overall, and 1-0 in District 13-3A
after defeating Kaufman 55-36, last Friday, even the experience
issue hasn’t been a big issue.
While Crandall is perpetually a strong team, Weeaks feels that
the North Forney Lady Falcons will be a threat to Mabank’s
district championship run.
“They have everybody coming back and are even more athletic than
last year,” she said.
On the other hand, she knows North Forney will have enough
trouble of their own when they face Mabank.
“Our size and experience makes us lethal,” Weeaks exclaimed.
“We want it more than anybody and we have a very good work
ethic. We know what our goals are and are ready to go get it.”
Watch for the Lady Panthers to play a very aggressive defensive
game, and an increasingly aggressive offensive game.
They aren’t locked into a man-to-man or a zone defense, but will
change their approach depending on the team and the situation.
On offense, they will be versatile with a lot of motion. They
will spread their offense out and keep opposing defenses
Weeaks is a defensive-minded coach, firmly believing that
defense wins championships.
This is her second year as the Lady Panther head coach, and her
fourth year coaching at Mabank. She also teaches Algebra I.
Mabank girls start district
By Sam Epps
KAUFMAN–The Mabank Lady Panthers started their District 13-3A
schedule with a 55-36 win over the hosting Kaufman Lady Lions.
Three Lady Panthers scored in the double digits, totaling 40
points between them.
Makenna Allen led the Lady Panthers with 16 points on the
evening, while Kourtney Holyfield scored 14 points and Ashton
Norman added 10.
Cheyenne Alldredge put nine points on the board for Mabank.
The win in Kaufman also gives the Lady Panthers an impressive,
14-6, overall mark, including a 47-36 win over Canton Dec. 16.
Against Canton, Holyfield led the Mabank offense with 13 points,
while Allen and Alldredge both scored 10 points.
Over the Christmas holiday break, the Lady Panthers competed at
the Idabel, Okla. basketball tournament, and had a chance to
take third place.
Mabank beat Valliant, 44-32, in their first game.
Allen scored 10 points for Mabank, Norman scored nine and
Kourtney Holyfield scored eight.
Olivia Pannell put six points on the board for the Lady
Panthers, and Alldredge added five points.
In the semi-final game, Mabank lost to the hosting Idabel girls,
Against Idabel, Norman scored 15 points while Alldredge and
Allen each scored nine points.
With the loss, Mabank moved to compete for third place against
In another tight and hard-fought matchup, the Lady Panthers fell
by four points, 53-49.
Allen scored 16 points against Tulsa, and Norman scored 14
points in the matchup.
Pannell and Alldredge each scored seven points for the Lady
Panthers, Kourtney Holyfield scored three points and Alex Brady
The Lady Panthers hosted the Ferris Lady Yellowjackets Tuesday
and will travel to Kemp Friday.
Teams now forming for youth
flag football league
Special to The Monitor
MABANK–Teams are now forming for the second season of Tri-County
Area Youth NFL Flag Football.
Youth NFL flag football is a non-contact, 5-on-5 flag football.
The league will not only give young people a chance to play
football and have fun, it will also teach life lessons and
Some of the benefits include:
• The development of basic football fundamentals, football
mechanics and football concepts.
• Help to develop character.
• Help young people learn team work and life lessons.
• All players will participate (run and catch the ball).
• Have fun while getting exercise.
• Reduced time commitment from other sports.
• All coaches are background checked and receive training
The cost to participate is $85, and includes NFL jersey, flags,
city fees and insurnce.
There will be registration days – Saturday, Jan. 21, and
Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Mabank Junior High School gym.
registration time is from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on both days.
There will be four NFL flag divisions:
• K, first, and second grades
• Third and fourth grades
• Fifth and sixth grades
• Seventh and eighth grades.
Beginning Thursday, March 8, and continuing through Thursday,
April 19, games will be played at the Mabank Little League
practice field at George Watss Park in Mabank on Thursday
There will be no games over Spring Break.
Coaches can bring a team of seven players, or individuals can
register and be placed on a team from their area.
Practices will be limited to two hours per practice, one day per
If you have any questions please call Ron Anderson at (469)