Micah Welch and The Lady Panthers have dominated the Summer League in Whitesboro this week as the team gears up for the season. Head Coach Tyler Dyer and the student athletes who have participated in the summer games have hit the ground running. Dyer is looking to build a team that can bring home titles and recognitions after taking over the leadership role as the new coach of the Van Alstyne High School girls basketball program in May. There have been a few standouts this summer season, but the team is still in need of more leaders like Emma Donald and Maeghan Thomas to step up and take control of the game offensively,


“(Donald) and (Thomas) have scored the ball well at times,” Dyer said.


Torin Riddick and the rest of the Van Alstyne High School girls’ basketball team broke even on Monday after putting one win and one loss on the summer season books. The Lady Panthers showed tremendous effort and skill after defeating Calvary 38-20. While the victory was enough to get the fans and supporters pumped, it would not be enough to bring home a second win after the Lady Panthers endured a narrow defeat by Gainesville, losing by four points in a nail biter 36-32 loss.


The summer games have been good for Dyer and the Lady Panthers as the student athletes proved themselves once more to be a team that plays with heart and formidable district rival.


“We did a decent job of sharing the basketball, playing as a team,” Dyer said.


He said there are no one-woman-shows on the Lady Panthers, adding that superb team mentality is one of the stronger points for Van Alstyne High School’s players. While Van Alstyne’s teamwork has proven to be a strong, positive sportsman-like quality and of course an admirable trait for any team, it can also prove to create some defensive difficulty when preventing scoring opportunities for the opposition and a daunting task for the team’s top scorers when the Lady Panthers find themselves looking to put points on the board when they are on the offensive.


The team is still waiting for superstars and leaders to step up and make the scoreboard buzzer shake the house for Van Alstyne. Dyer said the Lady Panthers can be “probably too unselfish at times,” focusing on making sure their fellow athletes each get a shot at scoring to the point where it can become an obstacle. When watching the Lady Panthers, one can see how the team functions well overall, often playing as a single entity with excellent fundamentals, but the team can be seen getting slightly caught up in making efforts to leave no players behind regardless of skill or grade level.


The girls of Van Alstyne have always been known to maintain excellent sportsmanship and play with superb effort. This quality, while admirable, can prove to make offensive maneuvers difficult on the court when players find themselves becoming preoccupied with making sure each teammate gets a fair shot at putting points on the board rather than securing the victory.


Welch and Riddick has been the cornerstone of the teams’ defensive performance thus far in the team’s 2017 summer league performance. Dyer says Welch and Riddick “were standouts on the defensive end of the floor,” in the victory against Calvary and the loss against Gainesville. While Welch and Riddick have proven themselves many times on the court this summer, it is a safe assumption that the two standouts cannot carry the entire varsity defense on their own. Dyer and the rest of the program are anticipating the official start of the practice season to turn the tide and focus on detailed improvement.


“We need to get better defensively, which will happen once we get practice time,” Dyer said.


The summer has proven to be an important effort for Dyer and the Lady Panthers — it can serve as a gauge to measure the team’s improvement from the end of the previous season and also a preview of what to expect from the Lady Panthers in the coming season.


“Skill-wise we’ve improved some over the summer,” Dyer said, “We have shot the ball well the past couple weeks.”


The Van Alstyne High School Lady Panthers Basketball team will conclude the summer season with games against Muenster and the Whitesboro Junior Varsity on Monday.