Lafayette coach Denton lauds smarts of All-City forward Pankins
Last season: 25-8 (lost to Bryan Station in overtime in the 11th Region Tournament semifinals)
Coach: Allison Denton (15th year)
Three key contributors
Kiara Pankins: Senior center/forward who has been with the program since seventh grade and led the Generals in scoring and rebounding last year, averaging 20.7 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. She was the Lexington Player of the Year based on All-City voting by coaches and was an honorable mention selection on the All-State team. Pankins has a scholarship offer from West Virginia State and has been in contact with multiple Division I schools. Denton said Pankins is a big reason the team is further along in its preparation than she expected. “Her leadership has been crucial, I feel like she’s basically a coach on the floor,” Denton said.
Caroline Bennett: Junior guard/small forward who was voted second team All-City after averaging 9.9 points and 6.1 rebounds, both second-best on the team.
Terri Abram: Junior who can play both backcourt positions and will start at point guard for the second year in a row. Averaged 7.3 points per game and was voted honorable mention All-City last year. Said Denton: “By February we didn’t want the season to end because Terri had come so far.”
Others to watch
Tekiya Garr-Carter is a junior forward who Pankins said will play an important role everywhere on the court. “She’s our quickness and our energy, really,” Pankins said. “She’s all over the place offensively and defensively.” Sophomore Macey Goff will start at power forward. “She’s gonna be key for us because she’s quick,” Denton said. “She plays like a guard but she plays inside.”
Games you gotta see
The Generals get an early shot at last year’s state runner-up when they host Franklin County on Dec. 6. The defending 11th Region champion Flyers beat Lafayette 66-42 in Frankfort early last season. … Lafayette and Bryan Station will meet at least twice this season with the Generals hosting on Jan. 12 and the Defenders hosting Feb. 7. The teams split four matchups last year but Bryan Station scored the biggest victory, beating Lafayette 61-58 in overtime of the 11th Region semifinals.
Lafayette’s deepest postseason run was in 2014, when the Generals advanced to the quarterfinals of the Sweet Sixteen. Kiara Pankins was that team’s second-leading scorer as a freshman, averaging 13.2 points per game. Lafayette’s top scorer was Dee Givens, who averaged 16.8. Givens is currently a sophomore forward at Western Kentucky.