Hoops Preview: Union County Panthers
The Panthers had a great bounce-back season in 2021-22, winning 11 ball games after going winless the prior COVID-riddled season. Union got hot at the right time, ending up as region runner-up in 8-AA. Corey Garrett is hoping despite the turnover of talent to reload and make the natural next step, which is to build off last season’s state tournament run.
HEAD COACH: Corey Garrett (4th Season)
2021-22 RECORD: 11-14, Region 8-AA Runner-Up, 2A Rnd 1
RETURNING STARTERS: 2. Houston Henry, Jude Ellis
KEY DEPARTURES: Landon Kight (14 PPG, 9 RPG), Caleb John (7 PPG, 5 RPG), Lake Hughes (11 PPG, 4 RPG)
KEY PLAYERS: SR Eli Underwood (5 PPG, 5 RPG), SO Houston Henry (6 PPG, 3 RPG, 3 APG), SO Jude Ellis (11 PPG, 3 RPG)
STRENGTHS: Balanced inside & outside presence
BIGGEST CHALLENGES: “We are young and have to grow up fast,” states Garrett.
Point blank, the Panthers are seeking a fifth consecutive playoff berth (yes, they made it even in the winless 0-14 season in a 4-team region that year). With sophomores Henry and Ellis, a lot will be determined on how much those guys improved since last year. Others will have to step up and make a name for themselves.
“We want to challenge for a region championship and make a run in the state tournament,” states Garrett.