PANA
BY JACK BULLOCK
For the Panthers, for the first time since since the 1999-2000 season, someone other than Gary Bowker will be in charge of the Pana basketball program.
Coach Bowker stepped down from the head coaching duties following last season.
This mentor compiled a 331-175 mark at the school in his 17-seasons running the show.
And at times it was a show, as this coach coached fun and run basketball that was entertaining to say the least.
The Panthers were very successful doing so, winning seven regional titles, two sectional crowns and a pair of supersectional wins.
His 2000-01 club finished second in the state.
His successor is familiar to the program, having played for Coach Bowker (2010 grad) at Pana.
Adam Metzger takes over and brings in an impressive resume, having been a student assistant coach at the University of Illinois under both Bruce Weber and John Groce.
The Panthers went 12-17 last season, and 4-5 in the South Central Conference.
They were just seconds away from a Vandalia Holiday Tournament title when they were toppled by Altamont.
For this season, the Panthers have three returning starters back from a club that lost to Marshall at the Teutopolis 2A Regional.
Adam Miller, a 6-foot-2 senior, notched 11.7 points a night as a junior. He is also a top-shelf defender for Pana.
Six-foot-three senior Kyle Lynch was an all-SCC pick after scoring 11.4 points and grabbing 5.9 rebounds last year. He is a tough matchup for defenders as he can score a lot of ways.
Five-foot-eleven senior Joe England returns after adding some scoring and assists from the point (5.2 p.p.g., 5.2 a.p.g.). He has ran the Panthers' parade in the past two seasons.
Senior Brock DeWerff, a 6-foot-3 forward, can play inside and take up space in the lane.
There must be a whole tribe of people named McMillen in this town because every year Pana has at least one on the roster.
Nick McMillen is a 5-foot-9 senior who plays hard on every trip down the floor.
Coach Metzger mentioned some good kids ready to step in when needed.
Nik Galvin, a 5-foot-10 senior, will come into games to defend the other clubs' best guard.
Six-foot senior Michael Hrabak is another hard-nosed defender who will be counted on off the bench.
Six-foot-six senior Seth Vaughn could play a key role in the Panthers' chances this season, providing size.
Pana did graduate a pair of starters, Wade McMillen (there is that name, again) and Rhett Zahradka. Combined those two produced over 20 points and 10 rebounds a game.
This school will celebrate its 100th season of Pana Basketball.
Coach Metzger would like nothing better than to deliver a winner to the loyal Orange and Blue faithful.
“Our team will have to take pride on the defense end of the court. We have the ability and athletes to score in a variety of ways, but we have to build our image around stopping opponents and making it frustrating for them to score the basketball,” said Coach Metzger. “We will throw many different defensive styles at opponents because of the athletes and length that we have this season. With a team that has 11-seniors it is important for each player to embrace their role and contribute 100% to the team in every way that they can. We also need to rebound at a high level in order to secure as many one-shot possessions as we can get on the defensive end and to gain additional possessions on the offensive end.”
2017-18 VARSITY SCHEDULE
N28 Mowequa Central A&M J23 Greenville

D5

Shelbyville J26 @ Carlyle
D8 @ Hillsboro J30 @ Vandalia
D9 Roxana F2 @ Gillespie
D12 Nokomis F3 @ Taylorville
D15 Staunton F6 Windsor-Stewardson-Strasburg
D16 @ Carlinville F10 @ Effingham
D19 @ Mattoon F13 Litchfield
D26-29 Vandalia Holiday Tournament F16 Piasa Southwestern
J9 Macon Meridian F19-23 IHSA Regional TBD
J13-20 Litchfield Invitational Tournament F26-M2 IHSA Sectional TBD