State Fair Community College women’s basketball coach Darren Pannier said he’s not as concerned this year about his team’s month-long layoff as he was last season.
“I’m hoping it’s going to be of less concern because we are sophomore-oriented,” Pannier said. “Hopefully, they’re doing something now that they didn’t do this time last year — I’m hoping they’re off the couch instead of on the couch.”
State Fair went 13-2 in the first half of last season but went 4-5 in January.
Still, the Lady Roadrunners have a lot to live up to in order to match their first half.
State Fair (13-1) is off to its best start since 1999-2000, when Dale Kimberling’s team went 12-0 in the first half of the season and won its first 25 games.
The Lady Roadrunners are ranked No. 13 in the latest National Junior College Athletic Association Division I poll, which is the highest Pannier thinks State Fair’s women have ever been ranked.
“We know what we have talent-wise,” Pannier said. “We’re pleased (with) where we’re at right now.”
Through 14 games, the Lady Roadrunners have three players averaging in double figures. With Shytoria Davis (13.1 points), Amber Mays (11.7 points) and Trevonna Cannon (11.5 points) having already committed to play at the NCAA Division I level next season, it’s no surprise State Fair is having success.
What may be a surprise to some is how balanced the Lady Roadrunners have been thus far. State Fair has six players averaging more than eight points a game.
Alexandria Simpson (9.8), Emma Tucker (8.8) and Vanessa Koonce (8.6) are sharing the scoring burden.
“It makes it, for opponents, hard to key on us when you have six girls averaging almost double figures,” Pannier said. “I think that this team here is very unselfish.”
Pannier said the key to the second half of the season will be the team’s play in Region 16 games. State Fair opens region play at 5:30 p.m. Saturday when it hosts Three Rivers Community College.
The Lady Roadrunners’ last game was Dec. 3, when they drubbed Missouri Valley College’s junior varsity 102-42. That was the team’s second-biggest blowout, behind the 103-31 whipping they put on Missouri Baptist.
State Fair is averaging 75.8 points per game and is allowing only 50.5 points. The Lady Roadrunners have allowed only three teams to clear the 60-point mark this season.
“I didn’t think we’d be holding people to the points that we (have),” Pannier said. “We haven’t thrown any junk defenses out there yet. It’s been strictly man-to-man full-court. I’m very pleased with our defense.”
They return to the court Wednesday, when they host Penn Valley at 5:30 p.m.
Another key upcoming date is Jan. 19, when State Fair travels to Hillsboro to face 12th-ranked Jefferson College in a Region 16 game.