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  • Pana Sports Foundation

2003 Girls Basketball Team - 2023 Hall of Fame Inductee

The Lady Panthers’ season began with a new coach at the helm – Carey McVickers. He inherited a varsity team who went 24-6 the previous season, as well as 16-1 junior varsity and freshman teams. The 2002-2003 team had five returning seniors: Amy Beyers, April Johnston, Wendy Kinsey, Julianne McMillen, and Julianne Scherzer; seven returning juniors: Lindsey Amling, Kim Beyers, Kristin Chamberlain, Alyce Easton, Rory Koontz, Calee Smith, and Sarah Weddle; one sophomore: Jenny McMillen. The new coaching staff included Coach McVickers, veteran Assistant Coach Nancy Voudrie, and new Assistant Coaches Paul Donahue and Brandi Beyers Malisia.

The season started at the Taylorville Thanksgiving Tournament. The girls went 5-0 to win the championship by beating the host Taylorville in the championship game 44-39. The only regular season game they would lose was at T-Town to stop a six-game winning streak. After winning nine more games they again fell to T-Town in the semifinals of the Charleston Christmas Tournament 55-50 in two overtimes.

The Lady Panthers knocked off Nokomis to win the Regional, Piasa Southwestern to win the Sectional and then Columbia to win the Super-Sectional to advance to the IHSA State Tournament in Bloomington.

Pana completed its most successful girls’ basketball season in school history by edging Carthage 64-58 in the quarterfinal game in the Class “A”Tournament, guaranteeing them a top four finish in the state. The Lady Panthers then took on Okawville in the semifinals, defeating them 63-56. This earned them a berth in the State Championship game for the first time. The Lady Panthers fell to Chicago Hope 49-43, however, that cannot dampen what the Lady Panthers accomplished in the 2002-2003 season.

This team set some IHSA Class “A” records that still stand today: Team Highest Free Throw Percentage in Title Game - .867 (13/15); Individual Highest Free Throw Percentage Tournament/Career – Julianne McMillen - .933 (28/30); Individual Highest Free Throw Percentage Game – Julianne McMillen – 1.000 (11/11); Individual Highest Free Throw Percentage Title Game – Julianne McMillen – .917 (11/12). ~ Coach Carey McVickers

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