The resume for West Greene’s girls basketball team is extremely impressive and keeps getting better.
The Lady Pioneers are coming off back-to-back section titles, their first appearance in the WPIAL Class A title game and two straight trips to the PIAA tournament, and riding a 21-game section winning streak.
Head coach Jordan Watson’s squad had a pair of girls, twins McKenna and Madison Lampe, hit the 1,000-point mark last season, while a third, Kaitlyn Rizor, is on pace to do the same in 2018-19.
Perhaps, you might be thinking, graduation took its took on West Greene?
The Lady Pioneers had no seniors last year.
That has to be a frightening thought for their opponents.
It’s possible, though, that success over an extended period of time (47-17 overall and 30-4 in section play the last three years combined) could lead a team to get complacent.
Watson dispels that notion.
“I think they’re focused on getting back to the WPIAL championship game,” said Watson, who, along with assistant coach Justin Allen, enters his eighth year guiding the Lady Pioneers. “They want to have another good year and get back to the Pete (Petersen Events Center, host of the WPIAL championships).”
West Greene seems a good bet to continue its upward trend.
“We’ve progressed,” Watson said. “In our seniors’ freshmen year we won 16 games, their sophomore year we won 19 and their junior year we won 22.”
It actually may be tougher for the Lady Pioneers to match last season’s win total in 2018-19, but that won’t necessarily mean the team has digressed.
“This year our schedule is much, much harder, by design,” Watson said. “We want to try to get battle tested and playoff ready. We’ve progressed in the postseason as well. As freshmen they lost in the first round, as sophomores they made it to the semifinals and last year we made it to the Pete.
“So we hope we keep progressing there and winning it this year would be the goal.”
A stellar senior trio of Rizor and the Lampe twins leads the way for the Lady Pioneers. McKenna Lampe enters the season with 1,264 career points, Madison Lampe follows with 1,085 and Rizor has 795.
Thanks to West Greene’s “Press Greene” take on the “Press Virginia” defense that coach Bob Huggins’ West Virginia Mountaineers made famous, the Lampe twins, both 5-foot-4 guards, ranked first (McKenna with 159) and second (Madison with 142) in the state in steals, according to MaxPreps. Rizor, a 5-9 forward, was third on the team with 78.
All three are outstanding all-around performers.
McKenna Lampe averaged 13.9 points, 6.1 steals, 5.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game last year and ranked 10th in the state in total assists with 121. She also led the team in free throw percentage at 71.6.
Madison Lampe averaged 13.7 points, 5.5 steals, 4.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game and shot 71.4 from the foul line.
Rizor averaged 12.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 1.7 assists per game.
Savannah Pettit and Brianna Goodwin are also key players and part of a legendary West Greene senior class which has played in and won more playoff games than any other class in school history, boys or girls, and is 15 wins shy of breaking the school record for wins by a class.
Pettit led the team in field goal percentage (49.5) and Goodwin was fourth on the team in minutes played (418).
The Lady Pioneers have no juniors but sport a pair of talented sophomores in Elizabeth Brudnock and Jersey Wise, who both saw plenty of playing time last year, and a freshman, Anna Durbin, with strong potential.
Brudnock was the Lady Pioneers’ best 3-point shooter as a freshman as she hit 26 of 76 attempts for 34.2 percent. She was fourth in scoring (7.9 ppg) and shot 70.4 percent from the foul line.
“We have a starting eight and possibly a starting 10,” Watson said. “Freshmen Brooke Barner and Katie Lampe are also very capable of playing varsity minutes, and we have some more sophomores who have all gotten better, like Morgan Mooney and Kaytlynn Walls.”
The Lady Pioneers have plenty of versatility as well. The Lampe twins, Wise and Brudnock are all capable of playing point guard, according to Watson.
While McKenna, Madison and Rizor are steady starters, Watson will juggle who joins them at tip-off for each game.
“We kind of ride the hot hand and keep rotating,” Watson said. “We’ve got a group that I think doesn’t necessarily worry about who starts and who plays the most minutes.
“I think they’re just worried about getting the win first and foremost.”