Head coach: Steve Phillips, 3rd year
Last year’s record: 2-3 in District 3; 10-9 overall.
Key returning players:
Cassidie States, 5-5 guard
Marianna Morales, 5-5 guard (averaged 2.7 pts. and 3.6 rebs. last season)
Marisa Vazquez, 5-2 guard (averaged 9.5 pts. and 3.1 rebs last season)
Maddie Thompson, 5-7 guard.
Taira Weber, 5-6 guard; Macy Rowan, 5-6 guard; Kirsten Summers, 5-7 guard; Marilleyn Ramos, 5-5 guard; Keely McVicker, 5-3 guard.
Demi Wollert, 5-7 guard; Lupita Marquez, 5-5 guard.
Team outlook: The Panthers took some heavy losses due to graduation with six seniors. The Panthers also saw one of their best players move away.
Coach Phillips will turn to veteran Marisa Vazquez as the floor leader for the Panthers along with his two other seniors.
From there, the team will be really young as they adjust to varsity basketball. Still, Phillips feels good about this team as they launch a new season.
Wiley finished fourth in the District 3 standings a year ago. Holly was first in the district with a 4-1 record and 17-8 overall. The Wildcats moved up to Class 2A this season.
Kim/Branson (4-1 and 21-4) placed second in the district while Springfield (3-2 and 12-9) was third; South Baca (2-3 and 14-10) was fifth; and Walsh (0-5 and 0-20) was sixth.
Wiley lost to South Baca, 55-46, in the first round of the district tournament to end the season for the Panthers.
Area teams appearing in the 2018 preseason state rankings by CHSAANow.com include No. 1 Kit Carson, No. 6 McClave, No. 7 Kim/Branson; and No. 8 South Baca.
Wiley will tip off the season with a road game at Flagler/Hi-Plains on Thursday, Nov. 29 and will host Cheyenne Wells on Tuesday, Dec. 4.
The Panthers will then entertain defending state champion and No. 1 state-ranked Kit Carson on Friday, Dec. 7.