The LaGrange College basketball teams will get their seasons under way with a home doubleheader today at Mariotti Gym.
The women’s team kicks off its season against Birmingham Southern at 6 p.m., and the men’s team will take on Berry College at 8 p.m.
Both teams head into the season with high expectations.
On the women’s side, the Panthers went 19-9, capping a banner four-year run under head coach Mark Isenhour.
The Panthers have won at least 15 games the past four seasons, and they’ve won 18, 20 and 19 games respectively the past three seasons.
“The last few years we’ve been able to string together some pretty successful years,” Isenhour said.
The Panthers appear poised to keep it going this season as they make their debut in the USA South conference.
Leading the way are Katie Covington and Heather Miller, who led the way with 16 and 14 points per game, respectively, a year ago.
A handful of other veterans are back as well, and they’ll be joined by a talented freshman class.
The Panthers were picked to finish fourth in the USA South.
On the men’s side, the Panthers were also picked to finish fourth in their first season in the USA South.
It’ll be the second season under head coach Kendal Wallace, who engineered a tremendous turnaround in his debut season with the Panthers after coming to the school from Maryville, where he’d been an assistant.
The Panthers finished 12-15, but that was a seven-game improvement over the previous season, and they were the regular-season champion in the Great South Athletic Conference.
The Panthers went on to finish second in the GSAC tournament.
It helped to have Kyron Anderson in the fold.
During a terrific freshman season, Anderson averaged 19 points per game while making more than half of his shot attempts.
Also back is senior Marcus Vaughn, who scored 12.4 points per game and had a team-high eight rebounds per game.
Vaughn, a senior, was named to the all-conference team as a sophomore and junior, and Wallace will rely on him heavily this season.
“I see a bright senior season for him,” Wallace said. “He and I have sat down and talked about his goals on what he wanted to do this year and I think most of all he wanted to do whatever the team needs him to do.”
LaGrange College’s teams will each have a handful of games before the start of conference play on Dec. 15 against Maryville.