Not many girls basketball teams sport a pair of 1,000-point scorers on their roster.
West Greene has two, and a third is likely to join them during the season.
Four-year starting guards and senior twins McKenna Lampe and Madison Lampe are at 1,264 and 1,085 points, respectively, both having hit the four-digit milestone last season. Senior forward Kaitlyn Rizor is at 795 points.
Lady Pioneers coach Jordan Watson believes that trio could easily have a much higher total.
“People don’t realize with all our seniors, last year they were very selfless in the sense that in our 22 regular-season games, in 18 of those they didn’t play in the fourth quarter,” Watson said.
“We don’t play for individual rewards we play for team stuff but all of them could have scored a lot more had they played the whole game but they know for the betterment of the program, get the other girls in there when you can, when you’re up.”
West Greene was up a lot last season when they rolled to a 22-4 record, including WPIAL playoff wins over Rochester, 76-57, and Quigley Catholic, 66-59, to reach the WPIAL final for the first time in school history.
The average score of a Lady Pioneers game last year was 64.6-33.8. So Watson got to use his bench often.
“It’s made our whole program stronger,” Watson said. “All those freshmen last year got a lot of valuable experience.”
Rizor and the Lampe twins are usual starters but Watson uses different combinations with several of his other top players when filling out his starting lineup.
That group includes seniors Brianna Goodwin and Savannah Pettit, sophomores Jersey Wise and Elizabeth Brudnock, and freshman Anna Durbin.
McKenna Lampe and Madison Lampe have been causing havoc to opponents ever since they first set on the court at West Greene High School in 2015 with their quickness, athleticism and intelligence. They have great court sense and key the Lady Pioneers’ “Press Greene” full-court trapping defense, they’re deadly on the fastbreak, they can shoot from the outside, they can rebound, they can pass and, well, they can do it all, as Watson said.
“They can do everything on a basketball court,” he said. “We typically have them in the two or three spot but they can both play point guard if needed, too. They obviously make our press go. They’re usually the first wave in our press. They’re both good ball handlers, too.
“And they’re just great kids.”
With all the attention the Lampe twins have gotten, sometimes the lanky 5-foot-9 Rizor, who would be an out-front star on most other teams, gets overshadowed.
“Kaitlyn has been real good for us,” Watson said. “She’s long enough where she can play any position. She’s a ball handler so she can play point guard but she can also play five (center). She’s our tallest girl. Her versatility is a great asset for us.
“On the press, we can put her on the ball. She can guard one through five so on any kind of switches that helps.
“She’s had a great career for us.”
Goodwin and Pettit are also key members of a senior class that has compiled a 47-17 record the last three years.
“Both are great girls,” Watson said. “They’re at every practice, they never miss. They’re both very solid on defense and they’re both very capable of getting a double-double at any time.
“Savannah is very good in what we call a cat in our press. We do a lot with Bri on the ball. They’re both great teammates. They do a lot of little things that don’t show up on the stat sheet, like set good picks, box out, good help defense.”
While West Greene had no seniors last year, strangely enough, they have no juniors on the roster this year. In other words, the current senior class had no players a year ahead of them and have none a year behind them.
That means the sophomore class, led by Wise and Brudnock, will be counted on heavily, just as it was last year.
“They’re both very solid ball handlers and capable of playing the point, too,” said Watson, who pointed out one of his team’s strengths is that just about every player on the team can handle the ball well.
“We think we probably have five girls that could play the point. That really helps us in our transition game because we can skip the outlet step. If one of them get the rebound they’re a point guard and everybody else runs their lanes.”
Wise and Brudnock bring slightly different styles to the Lady Pioneers when on the court.
“When we want to go, go, go, Jersey is good at point,” Watson said. “When we want to calm it down a little bit and run sets, Elizabeth is pretty good at running point there. They’re both great shooters.”
Both stepped up and played an important part in West Greene’s tremendous success in 2017-18. Watson hopes another talented freshman can do the same this year.
“Anna Durbin has a varsity build and she’s a girl who also can play five spots,” Watson said. “She’s physical and strong enough to play in the post and she’s a good enough ball handler to play out front when need be. She plays travel ball for the Slam organization. She plays probably 100 games every summer. So she’s very capable of stepping in there.”
The Lady Pioneers have taken a step forward in the postseason in each of the last three years, two of which included section championships. After losing it the first round of the WPIAL playoffs three years ago, they reached the semifinals two years ago and played in the Class A championship game at the Petersen Events Center last year, where it lost to Winchester Thurston, 76-57.
Watson said, “winning it this year would be the goal,” of his team’s outlook for the season.
West Greene also is riding a 21-game winning streak in section play.
All that success has helped Watson get into range for his own personal goal as he is seven wins away from 100.
While Watson, who has a career record of 93-72 at West Greene, has been blessed with an outstanding class of players, it should be pointed out he had success before anyone named Lampe or Rizor played for him.
In Watson’s first four years as head coach, the Lady Pioneers went 12-12 (overall) and 5-7 (section), 13-10 and 4-6, 11-11 and 4-6 and then 0-22 and 0-14 in a very lean year, which is the only season he hasn’t guided his team into the postseason.
The Lady Pioneers won playoff games in 2012 and 2013. Watson is 5-6 in the WPIAL playoffs and 0-2 in the PIAA tournament, which West Greene reached for the first two times in school history the last two years.
Watson deflects a lot of his coaching success to his assistant, Justin Allen, who has been by his side during his entire run at West Greene.
“Justin is the best assistant coach I could ever imagine,” Watson said. “And he does all the tech stuff, all the computer stuff, exchanging film, all that.”
As good as the Lady Pioneers have been, Watson still sees room for improvement.
“For us to take the next step, we’ve got to get better at half-court defense,” Watson said. “It seemed like last year as we progressed, whether it was Quigley in the semis or Winchester in the finals, once teams broke the full-court press we got broken down a little bit, so we’ve got to get better in that aspect of our game.”
Watson has lined up a tougher non-section schedule this season to try to get his team more battle-tested for the postseason, even if it might mean a few more losses than the Lady Pioneers experience last year.
West Greene begins its season tonight when it plays Freeport, a Class AAAA playoff team last year that went 13-9 overall and 10-2 in Section 1, in the Southmoreland Tip-Off Tournament at 8 p.m.