Athlete of Week: Panthers follow the leader in Pyles

Cheyenne Pyles-MoultrieCarolina Forest’s Cheyenne Pyles-Moultrie has always been the floor general for the Lady Panthers basketball team. This season, the senior seems to have added a new element to her game.

When Carolina Forest opened the season by winning the Sand & Hoops Invitational by beating host Socastee, Pyles poured in a career-high 26 points on the strength of six 3-pointers. True to her point guard position, she also dished out five assists to earn tournament MVP honors.

“We were surprised to see her turn it on like that in the tournament,” said Carolina Forest coach Stacey Hughes. “She does so many things for us – controls the ball, beats the press, runs the offense – that it was great to see her step up and hit some big shots. We’re hoping she can be more consistent this year. We have a hard time winning without her.”

Pyles has filled the role of ball management and distribution for the Lady Panthers for five years. But when opposing teams decide to double up fellow senior and leading scorer Alexis Tomlin inside, or when teammate and sharpshooter Ellen Nardella has a cold night, Pyles has shown she can also fill the hoop.

“I like having an all-around game, but I will do whatever my team needs me to do,” said Pyles, who is averaging a career-best 13.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per game along with 4 assists. “I can get the ball up and down the floor, I can post up because I’m physically strong, I can play the 2 or the 3 (guard position). I can score too, if that’s what they need me to do.”

Pyles also has a personal reason for wanting to show her scoring side. She currently stands at 874 career points, only 126 shy of reaching the 1,000-point plateau. She hopes to leave Carolina Forest with that four-digit milestone on her resume, but Pyles is willing to sacrifice her individual goals to achieve some lofty team goals in her final basketball season.

“It’s my senior year so I really want to score my 1,000th point, but our team goal is to win the region and go farther in the playoffs,” she said. “This is my last chance so I really want to go out knowing I did everything I could to help my team win.”

– Photo by Laura Weaver

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