If not for an offseason injury, Josh Dorr’s expectations might have been unlimited. He entered his first season as Park Hill South’s coach with three returning starters and six key contributors on the roster.
The Panthers struggled with consistency the past two years but kept showing flashes of potential under former coach Jenny Orlowski.
“Park Hill South has a lot of talent but will be learning a new system this coming year,” said Dorr, who spent four seasons each as head coach at Clinton and Herculaneum before coming to Park Hill South. “If everything comes together the way it should I think we can be a good ball club.”
Park Hill South went 12-14 last season but won just two games in February, fading down the stretch and losing in the Class 5 District 16 semifinals in a blowout vs. top-seeded St. Joseph Central. The Panthers were just 3-7 in Suburban Conference Red Division play.
The win total was still up four from 2014-15 but still not back to the 20-win level of 2012-13.
Alecia Westbrook led Park Hill South in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots in a breakout season. The 6-foot-2 sophomore should continue to excel, especially with starters Emily Dinovo back.
Dorr could have had a third starter back but Raquel Reid, an All-Red Division performer a year ago, could miss the entire season rehabbing from a torn ACL. She scored 8.9 points per game as a junior and was the Panthers’ top outside shooter.
Grace Cunninham, a senior guard who averaged 4.6 points per game last year, will be asked to pick up some of that slack, along with junior guard Dymeria Guillory. De’Jaira Guillory, a sophomore, could also see increased minutes.
“I’m excited for them to really get to play,” Cunningham said. “I think we probably need to learn to be a little more offensively minded and be more aggressive driving the ball.”
Park Hill South made the district semifinals each of the past two years ahead of losses to the top seed. Dorr hopes the talented returners, even minus Reid, can make the next step this season.