By Bill McCaughey
For the Fort Bend Star
Last year, the Ridge Point Panthers finished second in District 20-6A with an 11-3 record, and cruised to the Region 3 semi-finals before being eliminated by George Ranch and finishing with a 29-19 overall record.
“I am very proud of what we accomplished last year being as young as we were. We now have a very good idea what to expect and what it takes to be a successful program for years to come. We will for sure take our experience from last year and build from it,” Coach Lori McLaughlin said.
The Panthers will be without junior Skylar Fields for much of the pre-district season. Fields, a University of Texas commit, is playing on the USA Youth National team in the Girls U18 World Championship in Argentina from Aug. 18-27.
“When Skylar returns, she will be one of our go-to girls in scoring points. She is very well rounded and for sure carries a court presence that is fierce,” McLaughlin said.
Ridge Point is counting on senior captains Camryn Higginbotham and Kennedi Rutherford for leadership.
“Camryn will be a vital asset in contributing in running our offense,” McLaughlin said. “Kennedi Rutherford will be a four-year starter for me. She is the strongest that I have and will for sure be a huge contributor by scoring points for us offensively and defensively.”
The Panthers are hoping Regan Rutherford, Claire Jeter, and Nia McCardell can build on their success last year as freshmen.
“Reagan will also be a vital asset to running our offense along with Camryn. She will also be a huge attribute to scoring points in her offensive and defensive capabilities,” McLaughlin said. “Claire Jeter will continue to do great things for us offensively and defensively at the net. She will for sure be a vital part to our success. Nia McCardell can play any position on the court. Where ever we decide to put her, she for sure will be a huge attribute.”
“We for sure have a lot of drive and motivation to have our best season yet after losing a hard-fought battle in the region semi-finals last year. We graduated two, and are hoping to exhibit growth in our play after having an intense post and club season,” McLaughlin said. “We want to make sure we stay healthy and be as strong as possible so we can maintain a high level of performance through the entire season. This will be another great group of girls who are super close and have a special bond.”
After 15 matches this season, the Panthers are 8-7.