Scary is the word Bunceton with Prairie Home girls basketball coach Dustin Ray used to describe the 2019-20 Lady Dragons basketball team.
With 16 girls suited out for the upcoming season, the Lady Dragons could definitely be scary in the sense that now Prairie Home is added to the mix. In all, Bunceton with Prairie Home has a total of nine players that started either for the Dragons or Panthers in 2018-19.
“We have the numbers, we have the experience, and we have the talent,” Ray said. “The success lies with their mindset and their ability to adapt and overcome. Their failure will be my lack of knowledge for the game.”
Bunceton definitely has something to build on not just this season but for years to come. Although the Panthers struggled last year, Bunceton finished 11-14 overall and 3-2 in the Cooper County Activities Association under Coach Ray.
However, the CCAA conference won’t be any easier this season with the likes of Jamestown, Calvary Lutheran and Higbee.
Ray said the Dragons would be the favorite to win the conference. “Jamestown will have a lot of new faces and Higbee lost a big piece of their team, but they are extremely well coached,” Ray said. “Calvary Lutheran is a wild card and always a tough team to beat.”
While averaging 47.5 ppg along with 32.8 rpg. 10.4 spg and 7.8 apg, Ray knows those numbers will have to go up if the Dragons are going to have any kind of success this season. Shooting 36 percent from the field and 58 percent from the foul line last year will also have to increase.
Nonetheless, the Dragons will go about 8-9 deep this season with little or no fall off.
Of course who better to lead the team this year than last year’s Co-MVP in the CCAA conference than senior Chloe Moser. While averaging 15 points per game and 9.5 rebounds per game last year, Moser also finished the season shooting 52 percent from the field.
Ray said Moser is a solid post player and great defender. “I look for this to be an amazing year for Chloe,” Ray said.
Of course junior Maggie Wood wasn’t far behind as the leading scorer for Prairie Home last year while averaging 12.6 ppg along with 5.3 rpg, 2.8 spg, 2.0 apg. Wood also led the team in two-point field goal shooting at 32 percent and free-throw shooting at 59 percent.
Ray said Wood will be a great outside shooting threat and great at getting to the basket. “Maggie was the leading scorer for Prairie Home last year and could definitely be the same for us,” Ray said.
Ray will also have his selection of players to fill in the final-three spots, which could include seniors Cara Bishop, and Ashlyn Twenter and juniors Taylyn Heilman, Madelynn Myers, Kelsey Watson, Paiton Williams and Kaelyn Crews.
Bishop returns after averaging 3.9 ppg along with 5.4 rpg. Twenter finished the season for Prairie Home by averaging 8.1 ppg along with 4.8 rpg. Heilman  averaged 2.8 ppg and 2.6 rpg while Watson averaged 8.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.8 spg and 2.0 apg, Williams 2.4 ppg and a team-leading 6.4 rpg and Crews with 1.8 ppg and 4.0 rpg.
Ray said Bishop will be the Dragons “steady eddie”. “Always there, always gives everything she has and makes limited mistakes,” Ray said. “Hoping to see her breakout this season. As for Ashlyn, she is one of the best athletes on the floor and will help us all around on the court.
“Madelynn is a returning starter for us with some of the best basketball potential in my opinion. She gets to the basket at will and finishes very well. Taylyn is a returner that will be of great assistance on both sides of the ball. Kelsey is a very good ball handler and will be looked to be an extreme help to setting up our offense.
“As for Paiton, she is another post player for our roster. Paiton can be a solid scorer in the paint and does a great job of getting herself in a good position for the ball. Always working. Kaelyn, meanwhile, adds the height element to the team and will be a force in the paint.”
Other key additions for the Dragons this season are senior Lyrik Tracy, sophomore Savanna Tracy and freshmen Madison Brown, Laney Heilman and Kylee Myers.