Maury Patterson takes the reins of Hibriten’s girls basketball program, and he is a big fan of his team.

The first-year coach complemented the squad for their big hearts and hard work under what have been difficult circumstances.

“This year has been different for everyone, but these girls have been committed to working extremely hard while also doing multiple sport workouts and keeping the student part first,” Patterson said. “All these girls have very good grades and are never in trouble. I could not ask for a better group of young ladies. This is a building process and I think they are all along for the same process.”

He has a solid core of experience returning, which should aid that building process. Seniors Peyton Boggs, Katie Greene and Kelli Sanders are joined by sophomores Miquisha Patterson, Harley Lugo, Katie Story and Zoey Walker. All of the underclassmen spent time on the varsity last season.

They are joined by sophomore newcomer Sydney Wike (sophomore) and freshmen Emma Poarch and Jada Brown.

Patterson said he’s looking to be more than a basketball coach to his team and looks at his role as a life coach as well.

“Other than basketball, and more importantly, we want to show then what hard work can do for them, on and off the court, if they buy in,” he said. “It’s bigger than just basketball with me. Being a first-year coach, I want to instill hard work, great attitudes and how to be good people but also strong individuals that know how to work together. These girls have been a joy for my wife and myself and we look forward to following all of them during high school and afterwards in life.”

The Panthers (0-1) dropped their season opener at Draughn on Jan. 6, 70-63. Hibriten visits West Iredell on Tuesday and hosts Patton on Thursday.