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story.lead_photo.caption This year's Prairie Home Panthers girls varsity team's roster consists of Ashlyn Twenter, Kelsey Watson, Leric Tracy, Savanna Tracy, Kaelin Crews, Paiton Williams and Madison Bishop. The team is coached by Mark McLaughlin, not pictured. (Submitted photo)

The Prairie Home Panthers girls basketball team finished the season with a record of 9-16. The year ended with a 53-34 loss to Tuscumbia in the first round of the Class 1 District 9 Tournament.

Heading into this season, head coach Mark McLaughlin said the team is working on developing a strong fundamental base.

"The desire to play and to be good is definitely what we are building on," McLaughlin said.

This year's team is one with out a lot of experience, but McLaughlin said the players want to work hard.

"They want to be successful and they are willing to make the investment to do that," McLaughlin said.

The team does not have a lot of players this year, with only seven. But, the amount of players is not important, he said.

"You don't need a lot of kids, if you've got the right kids," McLaughlin said. "I think, ultimately, over time, we've got the right kids."

McLaughin said never quitting and never giving up are ways the team can work around not having a lot of experience or a lot of players.

"Every win you learn something from and you feel good about it and every loss you try to correct your mistakes and that really simplifies coaching for me," McLaughlin said. "You go back and do an autopsy on every game and you figure 'how do we win?' and you figure out 'how did we lose it?' and you just go to work on those things and that is what we are going to do."

The team's instincts are a strength this year.

"Even for the inexperience that they have, they've got some good basketball instincts. They have a nice tendency to get to the right spots sometimes and I think that we can really build off that," McLaughlin said.

A key for the team this year is to apply pressure where it can on defense.

"When we get back to the half court, it's build the 'Alamo,' basically is what it comes down to," McLaughlin said. "Protect the rim, protect the basket, defend against the straight-line drive and defend against the base-line drive and try to limit to one shot."

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