Wednesday evening, the Lady Panthers’ season came to an abrupt close with a 53-41 loss to Dawson County in the Region 7-AAA quarterfinals. For Union County (15-10), it wasn’t all bad, as first-year coach Corey Garrett chops up the 2017-18 season on BLITZ.
Garrett, a former Union County graduate, got to return home to take over a girls program that has long been one of the more consistent programs in North Georgia. Garrett says he had “big shoes to fill” in former coach David Tucker and coming back was just “a perfect fit.”
He couldn’t be more right. The Lady Panthers coach had only two seniors this season, one of which scored 1,000 career points in Bailey Daniel. While Daniel has been the go-to player on the team for a few years now, it’s more than just her tangible skills that will be missed in the program, and she did more than just put points on the board.
“Bailey’s leadership was huge, and she’s definitely going to be missed,” says Garrett. “To have a new coach come in — even though I coached her in the past when she was younger — she never questioned the system or the staff’s decisions once. It was great for the younger girls to see her comfortable with my system. If Bailey’s okay with it, everyone’s okay with it.”
The Lady Panthers will return all but two players next year, and improvements were seen from the regular season finale loss to Dawson County (70-38) to the very next game in the region quarterfinals, where the girls hung with Dawson until late, falling by just 12 instead of by 32.