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  • Val T.

Pioneer names Burns girls basketball coach


Sports Editor, RTC

Jennifer Burns was hired as the new girls basketball coach at Pioneer at a school board meeting Tuesday night.

Superintendent Chuck Grable confirmed the hiring in a tweet Tuesday night.

Burns will replace Jeff Brooke as the new Lady Panther coach. This is her first varsity head coaching job. She had previously been an assistant on Brooke’s staff.

Burns inherits a program that went 21-4 overall and 5-2 in the Hoosier North last year. They finished in third place in the conference. The season ended with a 46-44 loss to North Miami in the Class 2A, Sectional 36 final.

Pioneer will lose Indiana All-Star, Ball State signee and 2022 and 2023 RTC Player of the Year Ashlynn Brooke, guard Crystabelle Blickenstaff and forward Allison McGrew to graduation, and Spanish foreign exchange student Paula Collado Fernandez is also leaving.

Forwards Kylie Attinger, Brooklyn Borges, Julia McGrew and Gracie Hopper and guard Makenna Strycker are among the players who could return.

Pioneer broke a 38-year sectional drought in 2019 and followed it with a Class 1A state runner-up finish in 2020 and a state title in 2021. Burns becomes the second member of those coaching staffs to get a head coaching position following Jenna Hayes, who is now the coach at Peru.

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