History of Gunter Women’s Basketball

Their Playing Basketball

One of the most successful athletic programs in Gunter High School history has been the Lady Tiger Basketball team. With 16 girls continuing their careers in college, 28 straight appearances in the playoffs, and 3 appearances at the State Tournament, it might be surprising to know that it was not always so successful.

The girls’ basketball program was established in the 1950’s, but little time and attention was focused on the sport. Most of the girls had never played basketball until they had entered high school, which resulted in poor records and no appearances in the playoffs. In fact, during the 1978 season, the girls did not win a single game. The team needed a change and they got just what they needed with the arrival of Don Hankey in 1986.

Don Hankey, principal of Gunter High School and Junior High at the time, stepped in during the middle of the year and with the help of star player Angie Gentry, turned the program around. With a state qualifying team from Oklahoma on his resume, it is no surprise that ever since then Gunter girls have been known for the sport of basketball. Coach Hankey had his girls improving their skills by working on ball handling and doing plenty of shooting drills, and he also made them more competitive by having controlled scrimmages and keeping stats at every practice. Even though the team did not make it to the playoffs (only one team advanced during this time) during the four years he was coach, they beat the eventual State Champion, Celeste, who starred future WNBA player Shalonda Enis on their team.

During the 1990’s, the school hired Coach Barry Smith to lead the team and he did not disappoint. Coach Smith coached from 1990-2002, and during those twelve years he led his team to the State Tournament (2A) three years in a row. The 1996 team, led by All-State twin guards Amy and Jill Sutton, finished the season with a record of 32-2 and a State Runner-up trophy. By the conclusion of Smith’s career, he had become the winningest women’s coach in Gunter history, had led the team to the playoffs in each of his seasons, and had developed numerous players who would continue their careers at the collegiate level. Thanks to Smith, Lady Tiger basketball was now a force to reckoned with.

Basketball Trophy
1997 State Runner Up

After Smith’s retirement, Bruce Keatts took on the position of head coach and kept the consecutive playoff streak alive for the Lady Tigers.  Keatts won over 280 games as head coach, and had two seasons of undefeated district play (14-0).  Local teams such as Krum, Ponder, and Slidell were their most competitive rivals during this time. Along with the fond memories and fun times, this program has, and continues to, produce many college level players. Some of the notable alumni that have donned the Lady Tiger uniform are: Angie Gentry (Tarleton State University), Jill Sutton (Texas Christian University), Amy Sutton (Texas Christian University), Amy Kemp (West Point), and Joey Bailey (University of Arkansas – *leading scorer in the history of Gunter’s program.)

Some would argue that the only changes over the years in the game of women’s  basketball are the strength and speed of the girls, but the one consistent force that everyone in Gunter can agree on, is that the fire, drive, and passion is still burning bright for the Lady Tigers.

Notable Alumni College
Jeanne Harrison Grayson CC
Linda Hunter Paris Junior College
Angie Gentry Tarleton State
Brandi Streetman Howard Payne
Lindsay Smith University of Texas at Dallas
Mandy Lewis Paris Junior College
Ashley Streetman Trinity Valley Junior College
Jill Sutton TCU
Amy Sutton TCU
Amy Kemp West Point
Brittany Millar Austin College
Shannon Harrison Grayson CC
Amber Keatts Cisco
Joey Bailey Arkansas
Kaylea Johnson University of Science and Arts Oklahoma
Rachel Campbell South Plains
Regan Hestand Wayland Baptist University


Gunter Sutton Twins
Gunter Sutton Twins

Head Coach

Years Coached

Kevin Harris 1980-1981
Russell Hunter 1982-1984
Jeanne Harrison 1985
Don Hankey 1985-1989
Barry Smith 1990-2002
Bruce Keatts 2003-2014
David Kaniatobe 2014-2015

Article written By:

Taylor Cheers (11)
Emily Price (11)
Connor Clement (11)






Expose your business to thousands each month

Advertise on GunterTexas.com