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Net Gains: Paradise Lady Panthers

By Messenger Staff | Published Saturday, August 4, 2018
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The 2018 volleyball season is here. Practices have started and area teams will play their first games of the season next week.

To get you ready for the upcoming year, the Messenger previewed all seven Wise County teams as schools begin their quest to claim a state title.

PARADISE LADY PANTHERS

Hadleigh Anthony; Paradise, Right Side Hitter. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

When Danny Anderson arrived in Paradise last year, the Lady Panthers were coming off a four-win season.

With few seniors and a core of young players, Anderson knew a tall task awaited him. But the seasoned coach of more than two decades hardly batted an eye.

Anderson helped Paradise make an eight-win improvement in 2017, jumping from four wins to 12. Entering his second year at the helm, Anderson has even higher aspirations – qualify for the postseason.

“When you go from winning four games to [12] games, that’s a big improvement,” Anderson said. “But the most important thing for those girls and the seniors that have been here is to snap that drought and make the playoffs. [It would mean a lot] to the whole community.”

The Lady Panthers have not made the playoffs since 2014.

Paradise’s two all-district members from last season – Saylea Mayfield and Gracie Barnett – graduated. The Lady Panthers have only two seniors on this year’s squad, Hadleigh Anthony and Ashley Kosman.

“We’re really going to have to step up and lead – working as a team, giving it all we can in practice and giving it all we can every game,” Anthony said. “My goal is to make the playoffs as a senior.”

After realignment in February, Paradise drew one of the toughest districts in 3A. The Lady Panthers moved to 7-3A with Boyd, Brock, Peaster, Breckenridge, Tolar, Millsap and Jacksboro.

The Lady Jackets and Lady Eagles were both ranked in the Texas Girls Coaches Association’s preseason poll.

“I haven’t even looked, but our first playoff game would probably be easier than three of our district games between Boyd, Brock and Peaster,” Anderson said.

Paradise opens the regular season Tuesday at home against Bridgeport. District play starts Sept. 7 against Peaster.

Anderson knows the road to the playoffs won’t be easy, but he believes his team is up for the challenge.

“I think we’ll fight for it. They’re hungry and want to get to the playoffs,” Anderson said. “It’s there if we gel and come together, but it’s up to us to do it.”

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