Lady Wolves ready to roll with punches in 2020-2021

Brian Johnson
Shawnee senior Aubrie Megehee (10) puts up a jumper in a recent practice session.

The 2020-2021 basketball season will certainly be one of having all hands on deck and staying positive for the Shawnee Lady Wolves.

Such will be the case for many teams if not all in the midst of COVID-19.

“We're just trying to roll with the punches and have kids ready,” said Shawnee head coach Wendi Wells. “Hopefully, we can play as much as possible.”

In early scrimmages, Wells likes what she has seen and is excited about the possibilities.

“We had a lot of young kids last year who gained a lot of confidence and our older kids seem to be under control in a lot of situations,” Wells said. “We tell the kids to stay positive and do their best every day. Everyone will have to be ready to play, because we don't know when they will be called upon.”

A massive chunk of the team returns, led by senior Aubrie Megehee, who was the Lady Wolves' top scorer in 2019-2020.

“She brings a lot of aggressiveness and the ability to attack the inside. She's a great leader by example,” said Wells. “She works hard every day and works hard every play.”

Another senior returning to the lineup is Tatum Sparks, who recently signed a national letter-of-intent with Oklahoma State to play softball and earned all-state honors in that sport.

“She will play guard and is a hard-nosed kid. She gets in and battles for rebounds and can knock down open shots,” Wells said.

Also back are a pair of sophomores in Esabella Ramirez and Amaya Martinez, both of whom gained a wealth of experience as freshmen.

“Esabella can play inside and out. We're looking for her to be more physical inside when they bring a double team,” said Wells. “She led us in free-throw shooting last year.”

Martinez is also an inside-outside player.

“Amaya has really worked hard on her ball-handling and shooting,” Wells said. “We need her to be more consistent with her 3's. She will probably have to play more guard for us this year.”

Two more seniors expected to make an impact are Kaitlyn Taylor and Hallie Wilson.

“Kaitlyn handles the ball for us and we're looking for her to handle it more consistently. She's a good 3-point shooter. In the preseason, she has probably been our best 3-point shooter and she has really worked hard on her defense,” said Wells. “Hallie is another gurd who will help handle the ball. She's a hard-nosed kid who fights for loose balls and rebounds which gives us a lot of extra opportunities.”

Wilson has signed to play softball at Seminole State College.

Sophomore Emmy Askew and Tristyn Napier are also expected to make major impacts.

“Emmy has worked hard on her ball-handling and outside shot. She has really been solid at the guard spot in the preseason. She will be asked to play more and step in and give us more minutes at the guard spot,” Wells said. “Tristyn has also worked a lot on her ball-handling and being more consistent. She's a really good on-the-ball defender. She's trying to improve on her help-side defense. She also worked more on her outside shot and getting to the hole.”

Senior Kailey Henry and sophomore Anneca Anderson should be be making huge contributions as well.

“Kailey always gives you great energy offensively and defensively. She attacks the boards hard and gives us second-chance opportunities,” said Wells. “Anneca is a strong, aggressive post player. We will look for her to post up more and give us a more physical post presence.

Juniors Alanne Brown and Alexis McCool could see some action for Shawnee.

NOTES: Shawnee's scheduled season opener is Dec. 4 at home against Ada. The Lady Wolves were scheduled to open Dec. 1 at home against El Reno, but that has been postponed to Dec. 15 due to El Reno's continued participation in the state football playoffs. Shawnee is scheduled to play in three tournaments this season – the Tulsa Bishop Kelley Tournament (Dec. 10-12) and Duncan Tournament (Dec. 28-30) before hosting the Shawnee Invitational (Jan. 21-23).