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Tioga County Sports Report
SPENCER — S-VE graduated more than half of last year’s IAC South Small School runner-up girls basketball team, but second-year coach Justin Cole brings up several members of a JV squad which won the IAC Small School championship.

Like last year, the Panthers have eight players on the varsity roster, including returning seniors Abby Bunce, Marah Cooper and Taya Sousa.

“We made it work last year,” Cole said of the roster size. “Practice is a little bit tough, but they come and work hard every single day. All eight girls that we have are athletes and are going to contribute to the team.”

Gone are Sophia Dutra, Rhiana Lawrence, Hannah Martinez, Sydney Presher and Ajsa Zakova.

Dutra was the IAC South Small School MVP, Martinez was named to the first team, and Bunce and Lawrence were second team picks.

“So five seniors graduated, but we've got five juniors moving up this year,” Cole said. “Some of them even played with us last year in the IAC championship game and sectionals, so they have some good experience.”

S-VE’s varsity fell to 17th-ranked Union Springs in the IAC Small School title game, but the junior Panthers took down Moravia for the championship.

“Our JV team won the IAC last year, so they have some experience in the big games and they're bringing a lot of talent up with us this year,” Cole said.

Cole’s group has already discussed the expectations for this season.

“We talked about it at the beginning of the year,” he said. “Last year was the first time we won the division since 1995, and we said at the beginning of this year, we're building this program. That's going to be the expectations moving forward, to win the division, to eventually win the IAC championship, go to sectionals, compete and be strong.

S-VE opens the season Dec. 6 at neighboring rival Candor.


IN PHOTO 1: S-VE coach Justin Cole looks for his team to be competitive this season. ... PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.

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