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2017-18

A SPECIAL SECTION OF THE TIMES RECORD SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2017

BASKETBALL PREVIEW


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Sunday, November 19, 2017

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New-look Grizzlies put 7A title in past By Buck Ringgold Times Record bringgold@swtimes.com

Eric Burnett knows as well as anyone else that last season was yesterday, and today's a new day. Burnett, the Northside Grizzlies coach, now must deal with being the defending 7A state champions, and that what happened last season means nothing right now as the Grizzlies get set for the 2017-18 season.

Joe

“Us winning it last year was a totally different group and so that’s over with. When this year started, that state championship doesn’t mean anything, and so we have to regroup and start all over.” Eric Burnett

Burnett

“This is a new year,” Burnett said. “Us winning it last year was a totally different group and so that's over with. When this year started, that state championship doesn't mean anything, and so we have to regroup and start all over.” Northside also returns just one starter from that 7A title team. It happens to be one of the best players in the state, though, in recent University of Arkansas signee Isaiah Joe, a 6-foot-3 senior guard. Joe averaged 18.8 See BURNETT, S20

Northside’s Isaiah Joe, right, drives to the basket against North Little Rock during the 7A state title game on March 11, 2017, in Hot Springs. The Grizzlies defeated NLR 50-49. [BRIAN D. SANDERFORD/TIMES RECORD]


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Sunday, November 19, 2017 S3

Northside’s Joe relishes greater role By Buck Ringgold Times Record bringgold@swtimes.com

Northside’s Isaiah Joe drives between Jacksonville’s Mark Smith, left, and Chris Williams on Dec. 30, 2016, during the championship game of the Coca-Cola Christmas Classic at the Stubblefield Center. Joe was named Tournament MVP. [BRIAN D. SANDERFORD/TIMES RECORD]

So what did Isaiah Joe do the day after he helped lead the Northside Grizzlies to a 7A state championship in March? He was right back in the gym honing his game. “We were already back in the gym, trying to get better, always,” Joe said. “After our season had ended, I still had AAU ball to go back to.” And playing for his AAU team, the Arkansas Hawks, over the summer, Joe did quite a bit of traveling. The Hawks played in tournaments in Little Rock, Las Vegas, Dallas, Memphis and North Carolina. Earlier this month, Joe also made it official when the 6-foot-3 senior guard signed a letter of intent with the University of Arkansas. Joe had committed to play for the Razorbacks prior to his junior season, a season which ended with a Northside state title. He averaged 18.8 points per game and was the team’s leading rebounder, averaging 4.5 boards per game. In addition, Joe set a school record for most 3-pointers in a season with 120, including four in the 50-49 win against North Little Rock for the 7A title. “It was good when it happened, but now we’ve got to get back on track to where we’re getting our team back in rotation and chemistry to go in and perform well this year,” Joe said. Joe will be the only starter back from that title team. While he may receive even more attention from opposing defenses, Joe said he’s up to the challenge. “I don’t really like to think of it as pressure, I like to think of it as improving my role as a leader. ... I can help the younger ones and let them know how it’s going to be and what they should expect and what they should be doing in practice to help our team get better,” Joe said. He’s also going to get an additional role. Joe will see some action at point guard. “Since I’ve been playing a lot at guard, I know I have to work on my dribbling, attacking, distributing the ball, just from a guard standpoint,” Joe said. “Then I also have to continue to work on my strength and stuff. “It’s been second nature to me (playing point guard). Going out there to practice and working a lot, I’ve become more comfortable and gotten a lot better at it.” His coach, Eric Burnett, echoes Joe’s sentiments that he can handle the extra duties. “When you’re the only guy that you’ve got coming See JOE, S20


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Sunday, November 19, 2017

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Young Lady Bears squad exhibits potential

Northside coach Rickey Smith and the Lady Bears react as Northside’s Aniya Webster draws a foul while driving to the basket against North Little Rock near the end of the fourth quarter on Jan. 20, 2017, at Northside. The Lady Bears defeated North Little Rock 55-52. [BRIAN D. SANDERFORD/TIMES RECORD]

By Buck Ringgold Times Record bringgold@swtimes.com

Entering his 24th season at the helm of the Northside Lady Bears, coach Rickey Smith is optimistic about the potential of his Lady Bears. There’s one hitch,

though. Many of the players are either young or are new to the program, as Northside seeks to improve on last season’s 18-11 record, which ended in the 7A quarterfinals. “I like the ballclub, I think we’re going to be very, very young, but I think they have a

chance to be special, I really do,” Smith, who has won 574 games as Northside’s coach, said. “I think we have a chance by the end of the year to play with the favorites. We’ve returned just a few players that got any varsity minutes. “Moving forward to

this year, we had a great summer; our kids played a lot of basketball. ... You’re going to hear this a lot from coaches and rightfully so, but everyone’s excited at the beginning of the year, but we’re really excited just for the potential of See LADY BEARS, S21

“I like the ballclub, I think we’re going to be very, very young, but I think they have a chance to be special, I really do.” Rickey Smith


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Sunday, November 19, 2017 S5


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Sunday, November 19, 2017

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Southsides’ Cooper hopes roster meshes in 7A-Central By Kevin Taylor Times Record ktaylor@swtimes.com

Southside’s Dillon Hamilton, left, and Cabot’s Noah Allgood battle for a rebound on Jan. 10, 2017, at Southside. [BRIAN D. SANDERFORD/TIMES RECORD]

The complexity of a roster can be broken down a dozen or more times before the season begins. Southside’s boys basketball roster is no different. There is speed, skill and some size, too. But meshing in the 7A-Central? That’s how the roster will eventually play out. The Mavericks have big dreams following last season’s 8-19 campaign. There is experience and depth. “We have some guys back that will help us,” Southside coach Charlie Cooper said. “Ike (Moore), Dillon (Hamilton), and Ollis Brewer moved back from Oklahoma City. And then we have a bunch of football guys who aren’t here yet.” Maverick football players Taye Gatewood, Tyrese Solomon, Jordyn Jackson, Jaylin Coleman and DeeDee Smith logged a lot of playing time last year as well. “That’s five pretty good guys coming off the football team,” Cooper said. “The problem is we’re small; size concerns me.” Southside hosted Subiaco Academy in a benefit game Nov. 11, then hosted Ozark (Nov. 14) and will play at Rogers and in the Citizens Bank Classic (Van Buren) as they begin to mesh.

“In this conference, you’ve got to have depth, and so we’ve got to figure out early which ones of these guys that are in the gym now can help us,” Cooper said. “We’ve got guys coming off the football field that played a lot of minutes for us last year. We’ve got to figure out who is going to be our top 9 or 10 guys that we can depend on.” Along with Van Buren, Southside also plays in the Arvest Bank Tournament (Rogers) before hosting the Coca-Cola Classic over the Christmas Holidays. That tournament alone will include defending 7A champ Northside, El Dorado and Bryant. “The Rogers tournament is also big,” Cooper said. “We get to see those teams out of Missouri that we don’t see much, so that will help us. We’ll have some good tests before we hit conference.” Cooper expects North Little Rock, Northside and Bryant to contend for the 7A-Central championship. But don’t sleep on Conway, which already had a deep roster before getting two move-ins. “I could see it coming down to the last week to decide who is going to win the conference,” Cooper said. “I think North Little Rock probably has the edge on everybody, because they’ve got everybody back.”


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Sunday, November 19, 2017 S7

Southside’s Hannah Rainwater, center, makes a layup as Cabot’s Camryn Harmon, left, and Lesley Roberts follow the play on Jan. 10, 2017, at Southside. [BRIAN D. SANDERFORD/TIMES RECORD]

Undersized Mavs focused on attacking rim

By Kevin Taylor Times Record ktaylor@swtimes.com

Southside girls basketball coach Steve Brown doesn’t have any 6-foot-3 power forwards walking the hallways at Southside High School.

But he has Kelly Carson. One of four seniors, Carson (5-foot-2 shooting guard) and the Mavericks hope to contend for a playoff berth this season. Carson and fellow senior Hannah Rainwater (5-6), Eva Fondren

(5-8) and 5-10 Karen Medina plan to run the floor. “We’ve been working on our top eight or nine, and we’ve got a good group there,” Brown said. “We’re not going to be very big, See MAVS, S21


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Sunday, November 19, 2017

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Alma expects to be tested early on By Kevin Taylor Times Record ktaylor@swtimes.com

ALMA — There is no prize for early season wins and losses. And that's something Alma boys Stan Flenor might remind his basketball team until they finish nonconference play — or until two key starters have played their last football game. "Garrison (Jensen) and Brayden (Johnson) are two of our returning four (starters), along with Kade (Wood) and Christian (Stahler) are four of

Flenor

Stahler

our returning four that played a lot of basketbal," Flenor said. "From our standpoint, we're ready to get our group together. We know when we get our group together it's going to be a solid nucleus with good team qualities and guys that are going to work hard."

Jensen

Johnson

The Airedales play a benefit game at Rogers before opening Dec. 1 at the Pottsville Tournament. Alma will compete in the Bartlett, Tenn., Tournament (Memphis) on Dec. 15-16. The Airedales open the blended 6A/5A-West

Wood

Jan. 2 against Greenwood. "Early in the season, especially in the nonconference part of the season, we're going to be trying to find some quality depth," Flenor said. "We have a lot of guys vying for those positions. We have some really

good juniors and sophomores that are working hard. It's like anything else, the only way to garner any experience is to get in there and practice every day." Flenor is excited about juniors Tanner Shelton and Noble Skadden and sophomores Cejay Mann, Bobby Winfrey and Gabrial Jensen. The coach said the Airedales may have more overall returning size than they've had in awhile. "It's like it is every year, you want to establish your identity early,

but we're going to be a little bit different in that we'll be a little more multi on defense and multi on offense," Flenor said. "Playing a tough nonconference schedule will be good; you've got to take the good with the bad." Alma's nonconference schedule also includes trips to Bentonville and Southside. "I think we'll hopefully start jelling in January, get stronger for the district tournament in February, and hopefully make a run at the state tournament," Flenor said.

Airedalettes will give Mann all they have By Kevin Taylor Times Record ktaylor@swtimes.com

ALMA — Not unlike most coaches, Alma girls mentor Codey Mann doesn't have near as much size as he'd like to have. Heart? Grit? Hustle? He has plenty of that. The third-year Alma coach spent the spring, summer and fall trying to get his players to buy into his scheme. "Early, we're going to be playing a lot of new kids," he said. "We're going to have to get them experienced on the fly. We have a really difficult nonconference schedule." Alma will run "multiple sets," Mann said. He has kids who can score. Defense will be a key. "Defensively, I want

them to buy into the game plan," Mann said. "Offensively, we're going to run multiple sets; we're going to be able to change. "But we have one returning (starter), and there's going to be a lot of youth on the floor. (But) I'm excited to see how they're going to perform in a real game." Mann expects Sierra Bailey to draw every team's best defender. "The other girls around her are going to have to step up," he said. "I think we have some good pieces around her. I think we're going to have five on the floor that can score." Junior Brooke Yates (5-foot-6) will step in at point guard, Mann said. "She's stronger,

shooting the ball, and she's a year older," he said. "She started last year, about five or six games. She came into the season (2017-18) knowing the expectations. I expect a lot of big things from her."Junior Cassidy Cooper (5-3) is feisty and mean, Mann said. "She can shoot and make plays, and she's made our team better," he said. Senior Bailey Hoffsommer (5-foot-10) is a key, Mann said. "Her size and athleticism will help, and Bailey is tough," he said.Sophomores Zoie Mcghee (5-8) and Hillarie Mata are also expected to contribute. "Zoie reminds me of Alyssa (Hoyle); she's a scrapper," Mann said. "She can shoot the

basketball, too. And Hillarie Mata, don't let her (5-1) size fool you. She has a really high basketball IQ. We're going to play five kids who can score. "It's definitely coming together."Mann said Reagan Gray (5-5), Maddi Holloway (5-7) and Rachel Longmate (5-5) are also going to get their time. "Maddi hadn't played since the ninth grade, but she'll run through a wall for you," Mann said. "Rachel, she's been a great addition. She fits in well with this team. Reagan, she's a team player and she's had her moments in varsity games."Overall, we have a pretty inexperienced group, but with that said, they've played a lot of basketball"

Alma’s Sierra Bailey, left, drives to the basket as Bentonville’s Avery Hughes defends at Charles B. Dyer Arena on Dec. 6, 2016. [AARON SHAFFER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES RECORD]


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Sunday, November 19, 2017 S9


S10 Sunday, November 19, 2017

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Lady Pointers staring at stout schedule By Leland Barclay Special to the Times Record

The graduating class of 2017 set the bar high for the Van Buren Lady Pointers, and they jump into the schedule in a big way this year. “Opening up with Conway on the road last year was a tough way to start the season,” Van Buren head coach Chris Bryant said. “They had played in a tournament the week before so they were playing games four or five, and we were walking in game one. We wanted to give ourselves a chance to be a little more prepared. We were looking for a tournament.” Van Buren opened play on Nov. 16 in the McDonald’s Shootout in Paragould against Central Arkansas and Christyn Williams. “There’s probably 15 Division-I players in the tournament, probably the toughest tournament we’ve ever played in,” Bryant said. “Our firstround game will be against CAC and Christyn Williams, the No. 1 player in the country. That’s tough.” See POINTERS, S21

Van Buren’s Taylar Sutton takes the shot against Soutside on Jan 03, 2016, during second half play at Southside. [JAMIE MITCHELL/TIMES RECORD]


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Sunday, November 19, 2017 S11

Van Buren’s Kinney ‘stoked’ about season By Kevin Taylor Times Record ktaylor@swtimes.com

Just a small town girl living in a lonely world? Sorry Steve Perry, not in 2017. And certainly not in the 7A high school basketball landscape. Van Buren guard Jamilyn Kinney has achieved almost every goal imaginable heading into her senior season. Of course, there’s much more to basketball than wins and championships. Kinney has embraced the journey. “(I’m) super stoked about this upcoming season,” she said. “You know, most people say the only way it’s gonna be fun is if we win games. But really, the things that are going to be the most memorable are all the crazy team nights we have together — the road trips, getting together with each other.” “I can’t wait to play one last season with my teammates!” “Probably Jamilyn’s greatest quality is she makes those around her better,” Van Buren coach Chris Bryant said. “She puts others in situations to be successful. We like the four to seven new kids that we will insert in our lineup to join her. They are long, athletic, and skilled. Are they experienced? No, and as a team we understand the only way to get that experience is to walk through the fire.  “I do feel confident that after navigating the nonconference schedule, we will be as

Van Buren’s Jamilyn Kinney, left, passes to a teammate as Har-Ber’s Khanni Shannon, right, and Annabel Weber guard on Jan. 24, 2017. Van Buren won the game 47-31. [BRIAN D. SANDERFORD/TIMES RECORD]

prepared as possible for the 7A West.” The 5-foot-7 Kinney was born to play basketball. She became a perfect fit in coach Chris Bryant’s scheme. “I’m really blessed to have been apart of a program where our coaches care and are willing to do anything possible for the kids,” Kinney said. “We are

gonna work hard and do the best we can. We got a lot of big games this year in some tournaments; it will give us a pretty good read on how well we are gonna be.” Bryant’s nonconference schedule is nothing short of brutal. The Pointers open with Central Arkansas Christian in the Paragould Tournament.

Conway, Fort Smith’s Tournament of Champions, Jacksonville and Harrison are also on the docket. And that’s before the team heads to Neosho, Mo., over the Christmas Holidays. The schedule will help the Lady Pointers mesh, Kinney said. Van Buren was hit hard with graduation losses

of Lani Snowden, Hailie Jennen and Taylor Sutton. “The biggest thing will be coming together as a team,” Kinney said. “We graduated four starters last year that I really miss being around. That being said, I think if our team becomes more like a family we will do some big things late in the

season this year.” One distraction Kinney won’t have to deal with is the college recruiting process. She long ago signed with Belmont College (Tennessee). “It’s great knowing I have a new place to call home when I leave See KINNEY, S21


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Greenwood returns experience By Leland Barclay Special to the Times Record

The Greenwood Bulldogs enter the 2017-18 season with a lot of experience. Top returning scorers Jordan Sheppard and Zane Harmon return as well as Ronin Stewart, who started last year, too. Sheppard led the Bulldogs in scoring with 17 points per game in conference play while Harmon averaged 14 points. They’ll be counted on for much of the scoring. “Jordan and Zane, and I think you’ll see more scoring out of Ronin,” Greenwood head coach Greg Nichols said. “They’re looking better. Those three have looked real good. They’re seniors and they have experience.” Sheppard had a season-high 29 points against Farmington while Harmon had 32 in a win at Clarksville. Junior Peyton Holt started last year and returns as well, but is still playing football as is seniors Luke Johnson and Easton Barrett. All three are expected to contribute in December after football season for the Bulldogs, who finished 7-23 last year, but with an appearance in the Class 6A state tournament, and 3-9 in the 6A/5A-1. Senior guard Neil Rice moved in from Van Buren and started a few games for the Pointers,

so Greenwood has five players with starting experience. “He’ll help in scoring situations, too,” Nichols said. Junior Josh TeeterJones saw some varsity action last year and will play. “There are several fighting for positions,” Nichols said. “There are four or five sophomores that are pushing juniors for playing time on varsity.” Greenwood has seven seniors, nine juniors and eight sophomores. “The sophomores are young and make young mistakes, but they’re starting to pick up things with the older ones there,” Nichols said. “They’ll stay after practice in the gym and they’ll go over stuff between themselves. That helps tremendously.” Greenwood looks to compete more in the 6A/5A-1. “Alma is tough, Harrison is tough year in and year out, Siloam Springs and Russellville are always in the mix,” Nichols said. “I think it will be wide open.” The Bulldogs will also host their own H.B. Stewart Classic this year on Dec. 14-16 which will include a team from St. Louis as well as Providence Academy and County Line. They’ll also compete in the Cyclone Classic in Russellville and in the Spa City Classic in Hot Springs.

Greenwood forward Kaila Cartwright, right, grabs a rebound as Alma senior Alyssa Hoyle reaches for the ball at Greenwood on Jan. 27, 2017. [AARON SHAFFER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES RECORD]

Lady Bulldogs battling for positions By Leland Barclay Special to the Times Record

Competition has been the name of the game for the Greenwood Lady Bulldogs as practice concludes and games begin for the

new season. “We’ve got probably more depth on one team than I’ve ever had at one time,” Greenwood head coach Clay Reeves said. “We’ve got 18 on our roster, and we

have great practices every day. Those positions are open every day, and we compete every day.” Senior Kaila Cartwright and junior Kyiah Julian are the two most experienced

players back for the Lady Bulldogs. Julian was the team’s leading scorer last year at 12 points per game, was the team’s main 3-point See BULLDOGS, S23


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Sunday, November 19, 2017 S13


S14 Sunday, November 19, 2017

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Walker, Hillbillies primed for another run

Ozark’s Felcia Lane, left, attempts to work the ball around Southside’s Kelly Carson on Nov. 15, 2016, at Ozark. [BRIAN D. SANDERFORD/TIMES RECORD]

By Kevin Taylor Times Record ktaylor@swtimes.com

Ozark girls basketball coach Bret Nagel has quietly amassed some hall of fame coaching numbers. Missing from the

resume, however, is a chance to play in the big game. The Lady Hillbillies, who opened the season this past week at Southside, have won 99 games since 2013-14. With one of the league’s top scorers in

Ariel Walker back in the fold, the reigning 4A-4 champs hope to reload with plenty of capable scorers. “We will be able to use different combinations, based on the opponent’s size,” Nagel said.

Lavaca’s Garrett Eck, right, lines up a 3-point shot attempt as County Line’s Michael Lloyd defends on Jan. 11, 2017, at Lavaca. [BRIAN D. SANDERFORD/TIMES RECORD]

Ozark will turn to new faces with plenty of zip, including Hannah Ladd. A fouryear standout, Ladd has missed time the last two seasons with injuries. She’s back now, Nagel said. Walker and Ladd are

among four seniors set for their final run, with Lauren Lane and Meagan Harris also in the mix. Ozark will be junior heavy, too, with Kayla Barnett, Kalli Bonds, Monica Chancey, Anna Grace

Gibbons, Caroline Haberer, Lauren Nagel and Savanna Schaffer ready to make a difference. “We have a few sophomores, too, that will See OZARK, S22


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Howe girls aim for return trip to state By Buck Ringgold Times Record bringgold@swtimes.com

Last season, the Howe Lady Lions were rolling to a trip to the 2A State Tournament. The Lady Lions qualified for state by winning 20 straight games, including the championship of the LeFlore County Basketball Tournament. They had lost only two games in the regular season, both coming at the Tournament of Champions last December in Fort Smith. But the winning streak went away in the 2A quarterfinals, when Howe was defeated

by Christian Heritage, which went on to capture the state title. The Lady Lions return to the court under veteran coach Chris Brown, who in 18 years has compiled an overall record of 435-94. "We return one starter but several returning lettermen from the 2016-17 state tournament team," Brown said. Although the Lady Lions do return one starter, it happens to arguably be their best player, 5-foot-7 junior guard/forward Jalei Oglesby. Oglesby was the team's leading scorer last season (20.1 points

per game), as well as the leading rebounder (7.5). She also led the team in steals (2.1) and also averaged 1.7 assists per game. Howe also returns several players who received significant See HOWE, S22 Heavener’s Makaylee Wilson, center, attempts a shot as she’s surrounded by Howe defenders Jalei Oglesby, from left, Braden Dorsey and Kennedi Cooper during the championship game of the LeFlore County Tournament at the Stubblefield Center on Jan. 21, 2017. Howe won the game 61-32. [BRIAN D. SANDERFORD/TIMES RECORD]

Sunday, November 19, 2017 S15


S16 Sunday, November 19, 2017

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New Roland girls coach back in familiar territory By Buck Ringgold Times Record bringgold@swtimes.com

There will be a new coach on the sidelines for the Roland Lady Rangers this season. While Greg Pratt may be new to the scene, he is no stranger to Roland. He spent several seasons as an assistant with the Roland boys team before moving to coach in Arkansas. Pratt spent last season as the coach at Kimmons Junior High and assisted the Northside Grizzlies during their postseason march to the 7A championship. He returns to Roland to take over the Lady Rangers, replacing Scott Lowe, who is

“We are striving to be an aggressive team on both ends of the floor this year. We are wanting to push the tempo and try to get some easy shots in transition. I believe we have a chance to have some really good depth with this team this year.” Greg Pratt

now an assistant with the Fort Gibson girls. “We are striving to be an aggressive team on both ends of the floor this year,” Pratt said. “We are wanting to push the tempo and try to get some easy shots in transition. I believe

we have a chance to have some really good depth with this team this year. “Overall, we are inexperienced and we need our girls to grow up quickly for us to put together the type of season we all want this year.” Pratt added several players, even those who saw significant playing time last season, will be taking on new roles. “Girls that played last year are now being asked to fill vastly different roles,” Pratt said. “(Junior) Destany Cain, (sophomore) Saylor Kemp and (senior) Cassidy Floyd all played last year, but we are

asking them to do more this year, especially offensively. “Destany is a do it all type player. She can play every spot on the floor and defend every spot on the floor and be really good at all of it. ... Saylor is a versatile player who can play guard and post depending on matchups. She’s got to the drive and work ethic to be a great player for us the next three years. Cassidy is a post who is a physical player and really good post defender; she does a great job on positioning and rebounding.” Pratt is also expecting big things from senior Kyleigh Harrell,

“Kyleigh (Harrell) has been shooting the ball as well as anybody we have right now. She is working to get the movement back from her injury and get back to being that player she was last year. She’s working hard to get there and in time I believe she will get back to that player from last year.” Greg Pratt

who missed most of her junior season with a knee injury. “Kyleigh has been shooting the ball as well as anybody we have right now,” Pratt said. “She is working to get

the movement back from her injury and get back to being that player she was last year. She’s working hard to get there and in time I believe she will get back to that player from last year.” Pratt said among the other returning players to watch are junior Kristin McKinney and sophomore Makayla Chandler. There will also be four freshman Pratt believes can get substantial playing time, and even starting roles. They are guards Kate Martinez and Makya Perryman, and forwards Ayanna Youngblood and Jaiden Strassle.

Roland boys rebuilding but Rangers still competitive By Buck Ringgold Times Record bringgold@swtimes.com

On the surface, it appears as if the Roland Rangers are in a rebuilding mode for the 2017-18 season. The Rangers lost some key pieces from a squad who finished 24-4 and reached the 4A State Tournament for the first

time since finishing as the 4A runner-up in 2013. Among those departed were forward Mason Wiggins and point guard Khalil Morris, both of whom were seniors, and Javion Releford, who transferred to Northside after averaging nearly 12 points as a sophomore for the Rangers. But as long as the Rangers’ iconic coach

Eddie Lewis still roams the sidelines, fans of the Rangers and their rival teams know that Roland will continue to be a tough out regardless of personnel losses. In 35 seasons at Roland, Lewis – a 1975 graduate of the school – has compiled an overall record of 631-276. The Rangers are also seeking to continue their string of consecutive

Armstrong Bank Sequoyah County Area Classic championships, which they have won every year since 2010. The Rangers’ lone returning starter for the upcoming season is 6-foot senior forward Cameron Daniel, who averaged 7.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists his junior season. Roland also returns

5-6 senior guard Justin Harvey, who saw significant action as a sophomore but missed all of last season with an injury. The Rangers have other players who saw action last season, including 6-3 sophomore guard Darrius Phillips (2.9 ppg), 5-10 junior guard Hayden Riggs (3.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg) and 6-3 junior

center Chase Pyeatt (2.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg). Also in the mix for the Rangers are 6-3 sophomore forward Jaxon Wiggins, 6-1 senior forward D’Angelo Freeman and 5-11 senior guard Logan Serjeant. Braxton Shook, a 6-4 junior forward, as well as Kaleb McDonald, a 5-11 sophomore forward, may see action as well.


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Sunday, November 19, 2017 S17

Hopes high for Muldrow girls By Buck Ringgold Times Record bringgold@swtimes.com

It was a tremendous season for the Muldrow Lady Bulldogs in 2016-17. The Lady Bulldogs finished 24-5 overall and won 19 straight games at one point. But their season ended one win short of reaching the 4A State Tournament. However, the good news for long-time Lady Bulldog coach Jana Armer is she returns several key players from that 24-win team, and hopes are high that Muldrow will be part of the elite eight teams at state. "We have a great group of returning players mixed with a successful sophomore class," Armer said. "We are expecting big things out of this group. "We have the majority of our scoring back from last year. I have several young ladies that I expect to make big contributions to our team this year." One player in particular will be sophomore Taylen Collins, a 6-foot-1 guard/forward who averaged 15.3 points and eight rebounds as a freshman. The Lady Bulldogs also bring back 5-8 junior guard Hannah Boyett, who averaged 10.2 points and four boards a season ago. "Taylen was our See MULDROW, S23

Muldrow’s Taylen Collins goes up for a shot against Idabel’s Neriah Wharry, left, and Miracle Beard, right, on Feb. 23, 2017, at Roger Sharp Activity Center in the first round of the 4A Area IV Regionals. [RUBY DEAN/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES RECORD]


S18 Sunday, November 19, 2017

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Senior-laden Muldrow boys hungry for state By Buck Ringgold Times Record bringgold@swtimes.com

A senior-laden Muldrow Bulldog squad is seeking to make noise in not only the NOAA Conference but also in the entire 4A. There will be one significant change for the Bulldogs entering the 2017-18 season. They will be under the direction of a new coach. Terry Collins, who had previously served as an assistant with the team, was promoted to coach in the off-season. He replaces Adam Simmons, who left to become an assistant with the boys team in Farmington, Ark. "We're looking forward to the upcoming season," Collins said. One of the big reasons for Collins' optimism is the fact that Muldrow returns several experienced seniors. "There are three players that are seniors that have played significant minutes, in Braden Gleason, Caleb Armer and Tyren Collins," Terry Collins said. "We're looking for them to play a significant role on the team." Gleason, a 6-foot guard, averaged 8.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists a season ago. Armer, also a 6-foot guard, averaged 7.5 points, 3.2 boards and 1.7 assists as a junior. Tyren Collins, a 6-6 forward who is the son of the Bulldogs' coach, averaged 10.5 points, 4.6 boards and 1.3 assists last season. But the bevy of seniors doesn't stop there for the Bulldogs. "There are some other seniors that we are hoping to contribute in all aspects of the game this upcoming season," Terry Collins said. "They are Trevor Reeves, Gage Ramey, Dakota Gann and Tyler Stevenson." Reeves (6-3) is a forward who averaged two points and two rebounds. Another forward is Ramey (6-4), who averaged two points and three boards. Gann is a 6-foot guard and Stevenson goes 5-11. Two other seniors Collins is counting on are 5-8 Cade Floyd and 6-3 Nathan Matevia. One underclassmen who may get significant playing time is junior Braden Young, a 5-10 guard. Muldrow’s Braden Gleason, left, shoots from under the basket against Central’s Austin Brown and Eli Stacy look on during the Armstrong Bank Sequoyah County Area on Jan. 5, 2017, in the Paul Post Field House. [RUBY DEAN/ SPECIAL TO THE TIMES RECORD]


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Sunday, November 19, 2017 S19

Poteau girls seek upward mobility also expecting to get contributions from 5-9 senior guard Myeka Bluford, 5-7 sophomore Entering his sixth guard Lexi Wood and 5-6 season as Poteau's girls senior forward Jada Price. coach, Scott Gregory has Another girls team plenty of experienced seeking to make a push players that may push this season is the Pocola the Lady Pirates upward. Lady Indians. They return "We have three return- senior guards Morgan ing starters and eight of Francis (10 ppg, 4 rpg, 2.3 our top 10 is back from a apg) and Summer Perkins 14-12 season last year," (5.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg). Pocola Gregory said. "We feel will also be bolstered by like we are better than last the presence of 6-2 junior year and have had a good center Shakyrah Gladsummer and preseason in ness, who was a former our scrimmages. starter at Spiro. "We have a lot of long "We must stay healthy and athletic kids that get and learn to play with after it and play hard. ... each other," Lady Indian They play well together coach Eric Ladd said. in an aggressive up"We have a lot of potentempo style offensively tial, but will have to wait and defensively." and see how they play Gregory's returntogether." ing starters are Kenzie Robert Brunk enters his Newman, Kylanna Hard- second season as Salliaway and Victoria Archey, saw girls coach having to all seniors. Newman, a replace several key play5-foot-9 point guard, ers, most notably scoring averaged 12 points, five standout Taten Hyde. rebounds, five assists and Brunk will return 5-3 two steals a game last senior point guard Kaylee season. Hardaway, a 5-9 Bemo (6.5 ppg, 3 apg, 2 shooting guard, averaged steals per game) and 5-7 eight points, three boards sophomore forward Taite and three assists, while Stites (5 ppg, 4 rpg). Archey, a 5-11 forward, "We are very young, averaged eight points and one senior and one junior five rebounds. on the team," Brunk said. The Lady Pirates are "Overall athleticism By Buck Ringgold

Times Record bringgold@swtimes.com

is improved from last season. We can be very competitive during playoff time if we stay healthy and if we build off of the early season experiences that we will have." Sallisaw boys coach James Youngblood returns three starters. They are 5-10 sophomore guard Marcus Murray, 5-5 sophomore guard Lynden McDonald and 6-5 senior forward Josh Wiley. "This will be a good year for us as we embark on the journey ahead of us," Youngblood said. "We're certain of this that we will be a competitive and exciting team to watch play this year." Pocola's boys will be under the direction of a new coach, Shane Amos, who was a former Indians' player. Amos returns to his alma mater after a successful stint as coach of Arkoma's boys. The Indians have a core of experienced players including senior Devin Hewes, junior Tatum Lomon and sophomores Derek Carter and Brandon Forrest. Spiro's girls are under a new coach, Kyle House, who replaces Kayla Carrington, who took a similar post at Westville. House

will have three returning starters in 5-7 senior forward Hannah Tobler, 5-6 junior guard Jaycee Cox and 5-8 sophomore forward Cassidy Means. The Spiro Bulldogs return several players under long-time coach Dustin Gist, including junior Deontei Braggs and seniors Cedric Cobb and Cade Blankenship. Poteau's boys have won the LeFlore County Tournament each of the past two seasons but the Pirates face a major rebuilding job as they lost six seniors, including standouts Sequoyah Sanders and Ben Klutts. New coach Paul Moore, the former Heavener girls' coach, does welcome back, among others, senior Jameson Shackelford.

Poteau’s Kenzie Newman shoots over Roland’s Kylie Howard, left, Sadie Carter and Kyleigh Harrell during the first quarter on Dec. 6, 2016, in Poteau. [BRIAN D. SANDERFORD/TIMES RECORD]


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BURNETT

“He’s always going to be able to shoot the basketball, so coming off of a year where he hit (120) 3’s, he’s going to draw a lot of attention and we’ve got to have people in place to help take that pressure off of him”

Continued from S2

points as a junior and converted 45 percent of his 3-point shots. While primarily a shooting guard, he may also see some action at point guard this season. “I really see him having a really good year this year,” Burnett said. “Of course, he's always going to be able to shoot the basketball, so coming off of a year where he hit (120) 3's, he's going to draw a lot of attention and we've got to have people in place to help take that pressure off of him and of everybody mainly double-teaming him.” But beyond Joe, though, the Grizzlies don't bring back many players with experience. “We really don't have anybody back other than Isaiah that have any experience,” Burnett said. “I do say that, but (6-4 junior post) Stevie Young came in against Bryant (in the state tournament) and did really well, he'll be back on the team and (6-1 junior forward) Anthony Travis, early on in the year, got some experience for us so we do have those two guys coming back that's going to be able to help us. “We've also got a young man, (6-2 junior guard) Javion Releford, that moved in (from Roland) this summer and he's doing a really good job for us, he really is. I'm kind of ready to see him out there on the floor during a game.”

Eric Burnett

Among the other players Burnett is counting on are senior forwards Javion Perkins and Kendall Myers, 6-9 sophomore post Jaylin Williams and 5-8 junior guard Jermualle Norwood, a Southside transfer. “We've just got to put all these guys together and let us mold and shape them to where we need them,” Burnett said. “The ultimate goal is to get all of them experience and get them ready before we start conference, and if we can get it done before the Coke Classic (in early December), that's just gravy, but we're just trying to get them all on the same page and playing together and believing in one another, then it's going to be good.” A tough non-conference schedule for the Grizzlies starts on Nov. 21 at home against Fayetteville before going to Little Rock Thanksgiving weekend to play in the Battle of Barrow Road two-day classic. In December, they also go to tournaments in Arlington, Texas, and Blue Springs, Mo., as well as the Coke Classic at UAFS on Dec. 28-30.

Northside’s Isaiah Joe chases down a loose ball Feb. 21, 2017, during first quarter play against Cabot at KaundartGrizzly Fieldhouse. [JAMIE MITCHELL/TIMES RECORD]

JOE Continued from S3

back and what he did last year, and everybody’s looking at him to do all these spectacular things or whatever, of course he’s going to have pressure on him, but I think he can handle it,” Burnett said. “He’s going to have to block a lot of that stuff

out because people are always going to compare this team to last year’s and it’s a totally different team. But I think he can handle it, I really do. “I think he’s improved his defense, it’s gotten better. He’s been handling the ball, he’s going to play some point for us this year, so his ball handling has gotten better. But I really see him having a really

good year this year.” Despite the eventual state title, Northside got off to a slow start last season, winning two of its first six games. It might be a similar situation out of the gate this season as the Grizzlies take on an imposing non-district slate, which includes several tournaments and games against fellow 7A schools Fayetteville and Bentonville. However, Joe thinks

that the competition can only make the Grizzlies better, and if so, they stand a pretty good chance of playing for another state title. “I think after our first couple of games, if we come out and play like we should with the talent that we have, going out and winning games, big games, people will notice that we’re capable of making it again,” Joe said.


LADY BEARS Continued from S4

this ballclub.” The Lady Bears return a pair of senior starters in 5-foot-8 forward Aniya Webster and 5-6 guard Cierah Carey. Webster was the team’s second-leading scorer and rebounder last season, averaging 9.6 points and 6.5 boards per contest, while Carey averaged 2.7 points. “Cierah has really improved; her attitude’s been good, she’s a good senior leader,” Smith said. “Aniya Webster’s a returning player; she got a minor injury in early August and missed a bit and she’s just now getting back into shape.” Smith also has 5-6 senior guard Brenna Cooksey back from an ACL injury that forced her to miss most of last season. “She’s still not back, she’s not 100 percent but hopefully we’ll have her close to 100 percent by (the end of the) semester,” Smith said. Smith also has a large sophomore class coming in, 14 players to be exact, many of whom were part of

MAVS Continued from S7

which we haven’t been in awhile. (But) I think we’re going to be able to play at a faster pace. We want to get out and attack, and that’s this conference. Everywhere you go, Conway,

a talented group from Kimmons Junior High. Also, for the first time in Smith’s tenure, he will play a pair of freshmen. They are 5-10 guard Jersey Wolfenbarger and 6-1 post Tracey Bershers. Bershers’ older sister, Sara Bershers, is a 6-foot junior. The Bershers sisters transferred to Northside from Lake Hamilton over the off-season. Smith will also have several players back from the volleyball squad, including 5-8 senior forward Sydney Green and 5-10 junior forward Deairah Mays. Another thing Smith likes about his latest group of Lady Bears is their love of the game. “This is a group that has played tons of basketball and they’re consumed with it. ... We’ve got some kids that really, really love the game of basketball and have high IQ and play year-round,” Smith said. “It’s been a while since we’ve had kids that played year-round. ... The thing with our ballclub is we’re so young; we’ve got two freshmen, a large sophomore class, so we’ve got to get the kids to mesh, get them a lot of experience and go from there.” North Little Rock, Northside ... they’re ducking their head and they’re going to the basket and daring you foul them. “We’ll have a situation this year where hopefully we can do some of the same stuff.” In addition to the seniors, the Mavericks feature a talented junior class that includes 5-10

POINTERS Continued from S10

Van Buren will return home to play its only home game before January when its hosts Conway. The Lady Pointers will not host their own tournament this season. “We’re longer and more athletic,” Bryant said. “We’re more inexperienced. This team hasn’t been in the big game and that big moment.” Van Buren returns just one full-time starter this year after losing a great class that included four starters last year. Senior Jamilyn Kinney is the lone returner this season for the Lady Pointers, which finished

KINNEY Continued from S11

Van Buren,” she said. “I wouldn’t have been able to do this without any of my teammates coaches or my parents, but most importantly God for blessing me with the ability to play the game that I love. post Moorea Kleck, Hannah Schmidt (5-5), Melanie Rice (5-8) and twins Erin and Reagan Graham, who are 5-8 and 5-6, respectively. Brown said the players are eager to get the season going. “They’re tired of scrimmaging each other,” he said. “It’s a lot of mental stuff, and that doesn’t make them

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Sunday, November 19, 2017 S21

22-6 overall and 12-2 in the 7A-West with the losses only to Fayetteville. “We’re replacing four seniors that started for us that did a great job, allowing us to play a new level of competition,” Bryant said. “We’ll miss them, but they built a culture that hopefully we’ve been able to develop players behind them and carry on.” Kinney was third in the conference in scoring last season with 14.8 points per game, but was more of a general overall floor leader. “Her greatest asset from day one has been making others better and elevating other’s play,” Bryant said. “She’ll do that again. She’ll be asked to score, but her role

“She ( Jentry Myers) had a nice end of the conference run and was solid in the state tournament. We think we have eight from what we saw in the fall camp and summer.”

won’t change other than maybe being a vocal leader and senior leadership.” Junior Jentry Myers started the last 10 games of the season, including two Class 7A state tournament games against Northside and North Little Rock. “She had a nice end of the conference run and was solid in the state tournament,” Bryant said. “We think we have eight from what we saw in the fall camp and summer.” Ira Sandoval and

Zaiyah Frazier are working on stepping into the starting lineup this season. Sandoval was generally the first player off the bench for the Lady Pointers last year. Frazier saw some varsity time, but mostly played on the junior varsity. Kayleigh Evans is also vying for playing time and had some varsity minutes last year. Rylee Ryan, a junior, is a shooter who will play at a guard position. “She’s excited about her,” Byant said. “She has the ability to stretch the defense and shoot the ball.” Olivia Schnakenberg, another junior, will also play. Junior Mikelle Porter also played junior varsity last year but had a good off-season.

“This next journey is gonna be hard work but at the same time very exciting. I can’t wait to be a part of the Belmont family.” In an age where kids like to move around (ring chasing), Jamilyn was vocal and committed from middle school to making her school and community competitive,” Bryant

said. “And she has delivered. To me that is the ultimate compliment. She made where she was at competitive with anybody, anywhere. In coaching, you are fortunate and blessed to have a generational talent like Jamilyn. To have a player with her abilities; that is just about winning, making

others better, and totally committed to something bigger than herself is certainly unique. “As a coach, it is a humbling moment when you realize you do not really coach a Jamilyn Kinney. You try to put others in situations with her so she can (help them/ you) be successful.”

fired up. I tell them, ‘Give me 45 minutes to go over stuff, then we’ll implement it and we’ll play.’ “That’s what kids want to do; they want to play.” Brown has some younger kids expected to contribute, too. London Jones (5-6) and Shilo Laranjo (5-3) have looked sharp, he

Chris Bryant

said. “The thing about them, they’re out there busting their butts and competing. Yes, they’re making mistakes, but that’s OK. As long as they’re making mistakes going full speed, I’m OK with that. “The old adage is it doesn’t take a lot to hustle and be on time.” Southside has three

nonconference home games and will compete in three tournaments prior to conference play Jan. 5 at Conway. “The first part of the season is about getting ready for conference,” Brown said. “I’m hoping we can sneak up on some people. It’s very difficult; it’s a very hard place to coach right now.”


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OZARK Continued from S14

step up,” Nagel said. Nagel hopes to use the first two months of the season as a way of getting his team to mesh. The Hillbillies host Huntsville on Tuesday, and their nonconference schedule also includes Mountainburg and Scranton. “I want us to be challenged (always) but we need to be able to compete on equally on offense and defense,” Nagel said. “We need to be able to have more versatility on both ends.” Charleston

Howe’s Jalei Oglesby works the ball up the court against Northside on Dec. 10, 2016 during the Tournament of Champions held at Southside High School. [TIMES RECORD FILE PHOT]

HOWE Continued from S15

experience last season. They include 5-5 senior guard Kennedi Cooper, 5-8 senior forward Justyn Lynn, 5-6 sophomore forward Sydnie Womack and 5-6 sophomore guard

Zoe Nation. Last season, Lynn averaged 6.2 points and 2.1 rebounds. Cooper averaged five points and 1.8 rebounds last season, and Womack also averaged five points, along with 1.5 boards. Nation averaged four points and two rebounds as well. Brown is also counting on a pair of seniors,

5-8 forward Brittney Wann and 5-6 guard Morgan Turner. "We need to find some offensive and defensive chemistry," Brown said. "A tough schedule for us should provide the perfect opportunity to toughen up for the playoffs." The schedule Brown mentioned includes a return appearance

at the Tournament of Champions in Fort Smith on Dec. 7-9. Howe will also take part in the Green Valley Conference Tournament on Dec. 11-16, as well as at the MidAmerica Tournament in Ada on Dec. 28-30. Howe will defend its LCT championship the week of Jan. 15-20.

Two years removed from reaching the 3A championship game, Charleston coach B.J. Ross has a good roster and a solid schedule as the Tigers prep for another run in 2017-18. But first, like always, Ross will have to wait until his football players get their basketball legs under them. Brayden Caudle, among a number of football players, played well as a sophomore last season. Charleston will bank a lot of their success around senior Chase Ewing (6-foot-3). Ozark

The Hillbillies return three starters, including guards Ethan Masingale and Dawson Dietz. Coach Brad Johnson will also have 6-foot-2 Colton Millsap. Ozark had a big season a year ago but was upset by West Fork at the district

“I want us to be challenged (always) but we need to be able to compete on equally on offense and defense. We need to be able to have more versatility on both ends.” Bret Nagel

tournament, which denied the team a chance to compete in the regional tournament. Entering his seventh season, Johnson and the Hillbillies will be tested early Tuesday against Huntsville. Lavaca

Don’t sleep on the Golden Arrows. Coach Renner Reed has a number of play-makers back this season, including Garrett Eck and Ryan Dockery. The Golden Arrows, 23-10 a year ago, beat Blevins in the first round of the state tournament. Along with Eck and Dockery, Lavaca also returns seniors Chance Walker and Levi Simpson. Reed will also counter with a talented sophomore class. Booneville

The Booneville Bearcats and basketball don’t have much history. But that changed for the better last season. And with a good roster back in 2017-18, coach Ronnie Denton hopes to expand on last season’s 16-11 squad. Considering the Bearcats went 0-26 in 2014-15, Booneville is moving in the right direction. Big junior Logan Bradley (6-8) will anchor the paint for the Bearcats.


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BULLDOGS Continued from S12

Head coach Jana Armer instructs the Muldrow Lady Bulldogs during a game against Roland at the Roger Sharp Activity Center on Jan. 27, 2017. [RUBY DEAN/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES RECORD]

MULDROW Continued from S17

leading scorer last year as a freshman and Hannah returns as our leader on the court and had the most assists last year," Armer said. Also back for Muldrow is senior forward Kamryn Johnson (3.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg in 201617). Two players who saw part-time action as starters are junior center Chalynn Mayes (6.5 ppg,

3.7 rpg) and junior guard Madison Chambers (4.9 ppg, 2.0 rpg). "We have three other girls that had a substantial amount of court time last year," Armer said. "Kamryn is a two-year starter with an excellent shot. "Madison is a long guard that gives teams match-up problems because of her length. She is a great defender. Chalynn is our returning post girl that had several big games inside for us last year. She is very

strong and knows how to use her body to get position." There are several other players expected to contribute. Those include senior Breanna Daws, a 5-6 guard, and Autumn Phelps, a 5-8 senior forward. Juniors include 5-4 guard Paige Hughes and 5-9 forward Erikca Jenkins, and incoming sophomores include 6-2 Maddie Reeves and 5-4 Alicia McCloria. The Lady Bulldogs open their season on

Nov. 28 with a NOAA Conference game at Poteau. In early December, they will be involved in the Plainview Tournament, and on Dec. 28-30, they will play at the Tournament of Champions in Tulsa on the Oral Roberts University campus. Then from Jan. 1-6, they will be involved in the annual Armstrong Bank Sequoyah County Area Classic, which will be held at Muldrow.

threat as well as the best free-throw shooter. “She’s doing a good job,” Reeves said. “She’s started for two years, and Kaila has started for two years. Those two players have the most experience of all the players we have. We depend on them a lot for leadership from their experience on the floor. Other than that, we have a lot of others that can play.” Cartwright was third on the team in scoring with 6.5 points per game and the team’s leading rebounder with 5 boards per outing. Cartwright is the lone senior on the team but six juniors, six sophomores and five freshmen bolster the roster. “I think we’re looking good in practice,” Reeves said. “We have a lot of experience and a lot of depth. I’m looking forward to watching us play and seeing the things that we need to continue to work on to get better. You can only go so far in practice, and we’re ready to play some games.” Juniors Susannah Stein and Kenzie Smith also logged a lot of starts last year. Junior Karli Fisher was one of the first players off the bench along with sophomores Jaelin Glass and Harley Terry. Baleigh Wiginton also played a lot last year.

Sunday, November 19, 2017 S23

“We had other kids start on and off, but I don’t know if they will this year,” Reeves said. Cartwright, Julian, Stein, Smith, Fisher, Glass, Terry and Wiginton all played in at least 20 games last year for Greenwood, which finished 15-16 and went to the Class 6A state tournament last year. Sophomore Angela Price has moved in from Howe, Okla. All of that experience as well as some good up-and-coming players gives the Lady Bulldogs a lot of versatility and flexibility in the lineup. “It’s going to go good, but I don’t know who’s going to be out there,” Reeves said. “It works really well in practice. We have so much competition. We’re going to have a lot of depth. It does create good competition. We can play a lot of players and feel comfortable. Whichever ones we have out there, things are going to be good for us.” The Lady Bulldogs will host its annual H.B. Stewart Classic against with Bentonville, Morrilton and Providence Academy. Greenwood will also compete in a tournament in Fayetteville, which includes Little Rock Central, North Little Rock, Jonesboro and Mountain Home. The Lady Bulldogs will also return to Sapulpa, Okla., for a tournament. It all adds up to what should be a fun team to watch. “I think we will be,” Reeves said.


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