CAMP POINT, Ill. -- Laney Lantz feels like the first three years of her high school career have gone by in a blink.
"It feels like just yesterday we were at Redbird Arena," said Lantz, a senior guard on the Central-Southeastern girls basketball team, referring to her freshman season when she played in the Class 2A state tournament in Normal for the first time. "I think when you take it one year at a time, it's like you run out of time doing what you love. I feel like the seasons get shorter every year, and I really think this year is going to fly by."
Lantz wants to make sure it ends with the satisfaction of having poured every ounce of energy into getting the Panthers back to the state level.
She helped C-SE earn a third-place trophy in 2016 and a fourth-place trophy in 2017 while also earning all-state honors both seasons. She was an Associated Press Class 2A all-state second-team pick as a junior when she averaged 23.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.
However, it was the first time her season didn't end with a medal around her neck.
"That was definitely a bitter taste in my mouth," said Lantz, who has committed to play at Quincy University next season. "We've got a different mentality as a team, and we're putting in work to make sure (a state tournament run) happens again.
"I wouldn't say it was expected in my third year because we knew the dedication it took. We just fell through."
In the 47-43 season-ending loss to Eureka in the regional championship game, Lantz scored a game-high 39 points, but was the only Panther to score in the second half.
Eureka finished fourth at the Class 2A state tournament, which left the Panthers wondering how far they could have gone with a few more points from other players.
"We've been pounding that into their heads," C-SE coach Matt Long said. "We can't survive against a good team unless we have either people step forward and become legitimate threats."
Long anticipates Kennady Marlow, Alivia Lantz, Leah Turner and Natalie Dearwester will be a strong supporting cast for Laney Lantz. He also hopes to get at least eight points per game from the bench.
The Panthers also believe their demeanor is the same as the state tournament teams.
"We have the work ethic," Lantz said. "That's big for this team."
So is a healthy Lantz. She battled knee and leg injuries the past two seasons. This preseason, Lantz says she's as healthy as she's ever been.
"I'm actually doing really well, which would be a first," Lantz said, "I'm doing everything to stay healthy. I'm really excited about that."
It has her and the Panthers excited for this season, even if time is running out.
"Anytime you have a special player like her it goes quick," Long said. "She's the kind of player you wish you could keep around for 10 years."