By Matt Turer — @MattTurer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
HEAD COACH: Jeremy Mullins
2017-18 RECORD : 18-9
2017-18 POSTSEASON: DISTRICT SEMI-FINAL: Lost 63-57 to Miller
RETURNING PLAYERS: Olivia Edwards (Senior), Madison Hicks (Senior), Mackinzie Funcannon (Senior), Maggie Vaught (Senior), Sadie McMenamy (Senior), Macy Hayes (Senior), Olivia Doto (Senior), Harley Brantley (Junior), Celsie Killman (Sophomore), Robyn Pascale (Sophomore)
NEWCOMERS: Gracie Brawley (Freshman), Emrey Ellingsworth (Freshman), Lauren Akin (Freshman), Danielle Cutburith (Freshman), Perry Mease (Freshman), Celsie Killman (Freshman)
The Crane Lady Pirates run of five straight district championship appearances ended last season at the hands of Miller.
Crane, still just two seasons removed from the last of four straight state championships, rostered just one senior last season in Makayla Inman (3.9 PPG, 6.8 RPG) and returns a hyper-experienced roster this season.
Leading scorers Madison Hicks (14.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 2.2 SPG), Olivia Doto (13.9 PPG, 6.6 RPG) and Sadie McMenamy (10.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG) are all back after helping lead the Pirates to a 5-2 SWCL record last year.
Hicks, Doto and McMenamy were all Class 2 District 11 All-District selection in 2017-18. Hicks was named 1st Team All-SWCL. McMenamy and Doto were both Honorable Mentions.
“These three are the core of our offense, but all of our players play a key role in our success,” Crane head coach Jeremy Mullins said.
Olivia Edwards (6.5 PPG, 2.6 RPG), Maggie Vaught (4.3 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 5.6 APG, 2.3 SPG) and Macy Hayes (4.0 PPG, 2.9 RPG) all played significant roles in 2017-18. Vaught is a particular challenge, showing an ability to make an impact across four major categories in the box score.
“Having so many players return this year is huge,” Mullins said. “Instead of rebuilding, we will be able to build on what we accomplished last year and continue our growth.
“I expect this group to play hard day-in-and-day-out and always strive to make each other better.”
Crane opens the 2018-19 season at home against Ash Grove on November 19. The Lady Pirates are scheduled to participate in three in-season tournaments: the Walnut Grove Holiday Classic, the Seymour Bank Winter Classic and the Lady Comet Classic (Marionville).
The SWCL schedule opens with a home game against Clever on December 13.