BASKETBALL PREVIEW: Pikeville eyes return to Rupp Arena

When the Pikeville Lady Panthers defeated Johnson Central in last year’s 15th Region championship game, it marked the first time in 39 seasons the team was off to the Sweet 16.

It was also the first title for head coach Kristy Orem in her 21 years on the bench.

With the beginning of her 22nd season, she hopes her team can work its way back to the state’s biggest stage by March.

Pikeville returns three starters and its top reserve from last year’s 27-8 squad which fell in the opening round to Barron County at Rupp Arena.

Senior Kirsten Cole Williamson is the top returning scorer at 12.4 points per game and nearly eight rebounds. Seniors Kelsey Jo Tackett and Alivia Gearheart are back along with eighth-grader Trinity Rowe.

Other top seniors include Alexia Wilkerson and Michaela Hunter.

Top newcomers include Emma Ratliff, McKenzie Maynard, Rylee Theiss, Leighan Jackson, Kennedy Rash and Kylie Hall.

Pikeville opens its season at home against Pike County Central on Dec. 3.

Pikeville schedule 2019-20

Dec. 3              Pike Central                Home

Dec. 5              Paintsville                    Away

Dec. 6              Magoffin County        Home

Dec. 9              Ridgeview, Va.           Home

Dec. 12            Johnson Central          Away

Dec. 14            Perry Central               Away

Dec. 19-21      Smoky Mountain Classic,

Gatlinburg-Pittman H.S.

Dec. 27            Pikeville Invitational

Dixie Heights                                      Home

Jan. 4               Shelby Valley             Away

Jan. 9               All ‘A’ Classic

at The Arena   vs. Paintsville

Jan. 17             East Ridge                  Home

Jan. 18             Magoffin County       Away

Jan. 20             Ashland Blazer          TBA

Jan. 27             Lawrence County     Away

Jan. 30             Shelby Valley           Home

Feb. 3              East Ridge                 Away

Feb. 5              Pike Central               Away

Feb. 6              Belfry                          Home

Feb. 8              Russell                        Home

Feb. 13            Letcher Central         Home

Feb. 15            Perry Central              Home

Feb. 17            Belfry                           Away

Feb. 20            Hazard                        Home