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From Valley Basketball Player to NCAA Division I Basketball Official By Marty Barnes If you take a good look at how Donnie Daily was raised, it would come as no surprise that he appeared destined to be involved in sports his entire life. Donnie is the oldest of Don and Sydna Daily’s three sons. Don was a successful basketball coach in the River Valley with a great head coaching career at Hector High School, then Russellville Junior High, and Russellville High School. The Daily family attended and supported every sporting event in which the boys were involved.

When Donnie reached high school, he had narrowed his sports to basketball and tennis, but there was one aspect of his dad’s life that really sparked Donnie’s interest. Don had been a basketball referee in the boys’ earlier years and, like most athletic families, Donnie tagged along with his dad. He was further influenced by some of the River Valley’s best referees. The likes of Larry Moore, Chuck Stilwell, and Danny Hamm were instrumental in encouraging Donnie to referee after he finished college. The biggest referee influence, however, was the mentor of nearly all the referees in the Valley, Jimmy Lewis. Jimmy Lewis had been a longtime referee in what is now the 7A West & 5A West conferences and also refereed in the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference. Donnie quickly moved up the officiating chain because of the lessons and mentoring of his dad, his fellow referees, and Jimmy Lewis.

like to officiate games with some of the biggest names in the game (Bobby Knight, Roy Williams, Bill Self, etc.), Donnie grinned and responded with “Honestly, you’d be surprised at how professional they are. Each coach has their own style of coaching and rapport/communication style with the referees BUT if they know you are hustling and working hard on the court they respect your calls.” He also remembered a big lesson from Jimmy Lewis, “Never try to show that you are bigger than the game or bigger than any athlete or coach - respect the game and the rules of the game.” When watching college games on TV this season, one will more than likely be watching Arkansas’ only high ranked NCAA Division I official, Donnie Daily. Not only is Donnie working some of the best conference games again this year, he is also scheduled to officiate this year’s Battle for Atlantis Tournament in the Bahamas, November 22-24. This year’s tournament will have such teams as Louisville, Northern Iowa, Missouri, Stanford, Memphis, VCU, Minnesota, and Duke. The Battle for Atlantis is called the richest NCAA pre-season tournament with each participating team awarded $2 million for the event. This season has a lot of great opportunities for Donnie, but we will most likely be seeing him in the Big Dance at the Final Four very soon! **Editor’s note: Ask any coach and they will tell you it is great to win ball games and championships, BUT it is nothing compared to the feeling a coach gets when one of his former players becomes successful later in life. I am proud to say, “I once was Donnie Daily’s coach!” Marty Barnes

Just how good of a referee has Donnie become? Check out these credentials: he has refereed in the last five NCAA tournaments with the last three being in the Elite 8 regional games; he is graded as being eligible to work the Final Four games when he can break into the top ten; he currently works in some of the best NCAA college conferences (SEC Big 12 - Conference USA - and crossover games between the ACC and Big East teams, etc.); this year marks his 14th year refereeing NCAA Division I basketball. It is difficult for Donnie to point to any negatives of refereeing at this high level of officiating. Let’s face it, he loves refereeing and loves the game of basketball. It was interesting to hear how he is evaluated by the conferences and the NCAA. As he puts it, “At this level you are constantly studying game video of yourself and you also have video evaluations from crew chiefs. It makes you a better official and better prepares you for each situation and game.” When asked what it is Pg. 10 • AR Sports NWA Winter Edition 2012 www.arsports.net

Donnie Daily Profile Wife: Staci Children: Alley - Jay - Rachel - Stefan - Jordan Parents: Don & Sydna Daily Brothers: Robert - Scott Current Conference Officiating Status: SEC - Big 12 - Conf. USA Missouri Valley - Sun Belt ACC/Big East Crossover Games Basketball Trivia: 3 Year Basketball Letterman Russellville HS 1984 - 86 Starter on Russellville HS 1985 State Championship Team Played Collegiate Basketball at Bartlesville Wesleyan - Arkansas Tech University Favorite Quotes: “Be true to yourself, be comfortable in your own skin.” “As a referee, you are never bigger than the game.”


For the Love

of the Game By Harrison Stanfill

For Dr. Willa Faye Mason, her love of basketball goes all the way back to when she was a little girl. Mason’s love of the sport began when she started playing around with a basketball in gym class at a Siloam Springs school. But, Dr. Mason had no idea then how far her love for a round, orange ball would take her. Ms. Mason, an Arkansas native and resident of Siloam Springs, was recently inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Class of 2012 as part of the All-American Red Heads. Founded in 1936, the All-American Red Heads were the first professional women’s basketball team in the country breaking down stereotypes about women in sports with every dribble of a basketball. This groundbreaking team traveled all over the United States for fifty years taking on men’s teams everywhere. These women athletes made up the first female team to play by the standard five versus five, full-court men’s basketball rules. Ms. Mason remembers the first time she watched the Red Heads play. She was a high school player sitting in the Siloam Springs’ gym; she almost couldn’t believe what her own eyes were seeing. “We were all sitting there on the first row of the bleachers, and we were just carried away that they could play like that.” Mason said.

Ms. Mason started playing competitive basketball for Siloam Springs High School. As a member of the “Pantherettes”, Ms. Mason’s love of and skill in basketball was rewarded as she gained All-State honors her junior and senior years. During her senior year, through the urging of an old friend, Siloam Springs Head Coach, Ray Piper, Red Heads’ Coach C.M. Olson came to watch Mason play in a game. Coach Olson was so impressed, he offered Ms. Mason a spot on the Red Heads. Playing from 1949-1956, seven seasons for the Red Heads, Ms. Mason traveled all over the United States and Canada playing basketball. “You had to really love basketball to be a part of that team, because we played somewhere almost every night,” Mason said.

And Ms. Mason did love basketball. “I always wanted, besides playing basketball, to teach physical education.” Mason said, “I wanted to teach young girls how to play basketball.” After leaving the Red Heads, Ms. Mason enrolled in school at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma where she earned her degree as well as a place in the Northeastern State University Athletic Hall of Fame. Ms. Mason continued her education by earning her Master’s Degree at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma and then her Doctorate Degree from Kansas State University. She would eventually be called back to Northeastern State University to serve as a professor and coach from 1963 to 1993. She coached girl’s field hockey, volleyball, and basketball. Ms. Mason fulfilled her dream of teaching girls the sport she loved so much. But, one dream that wouldn’t be fulfilled until almost 20 years later was Dr. Mason’s dream to be enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. As a player for the Red Heads, she visited the Hall of Fame. And, “It was always a dream of mine, that one day the Red Heads might make it to the Naismith Hall of Fame,” Mason said. Well, that dream came to fruition. Dr. Mason received a phone call one day telling her that her dream to be inducted into the Hall of Fame had come true. But just getting enshrined wasn’t enough for Ms. Mason; she attended the induction ceremony in Springfield, Massachusetts. There she was inducted into the same Hall of Fame class as Nike’s Phil Knight, Ralph Sampson, and Reggie Miller. But, what was the biggest highlight from her Hall of Fame Induction? Dr. Mason, the little girl who loved that round, orange basketball-the breaker of stereotypes as a player for the Red Heads-the teacher who lived out her dream of teaching basketball to young females, replied, “Sitting at the same table as Razorback Basketball Head Coach, Mike Anderson”.

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Warren Womble: Coach of the Original Dream Team By Marty Barnes

Warren Womble is retired and living the quiet life in the middle of Bella Vista, Arkansas. So just who is this unassuming man? Want to be impressed with some coaching credentials? Take a look at these facts: coached with some of the greats of the game (Hank Iba - Pete Newell - Adolf Rupp - Phog Allen); coached some of the great players of the game (Oscar Robertson - Jerry West - Jerry Lucas, etc.); coaching record vs. international competition a remarkable 34-0; overall coaching record 296 wins 126 losses; five national AAU championships; 1952 head coach of the Olympic Gold Medal U.S. men’s basketball team; 1960 assistant coach of the Olympic Gold Medal U.S. men’s basketball team. WOW! When Warren Womble discusses his early years of playing basketball, he fits the perfect description of a “gym rat”. His home was never far from a gym, and if the gym was open he was in it regardless of the time. His athletic prowess led him to attend Southeastern Oklahoma State in Durant, Oklahoma. While in college at SEO, he excelled and lettered in both basketball and tennis. He also helped lead the SEO Savages to quarterfinals of the AAU National Tournament in 1948. Warren’s coaching career started and ended with the Peoria Caterpillars as part of the National Industrial Basketball League. Coach Womble describes his coaching career with the Cats as the dream coaching job. As he explains it, this was an era before the NBA had taken off (in fact, at this time the NBA was floundering and in near collapse), before the NCAA had a national tournament as we know it today, and the NAIA universities were featuring the only true college national tournament. The selection of the Olympic basketball teams were also nothing like they are today. Olympic teams in the 1940’s thru 1960 were based on the team that won the Olympic Trials Tournament. The team that won the trials tournament was awarded at least seven spots on the U.S. Olympic team and the winning coach was named the head coach. Also during that time period the U.S. Olympic team had to be made up of amateurs (no professional players were allowed until the Dream Team of 1992). The 1952 Olympic team, of which Coach Womble was the head coach, won the gold medal over Russia 36-25 in a rather bizarre championship game. The Russians elected to hold the ball the entire game. In fact, the Russian players refused to shoot even lay-ups (some even sat on the floor at times when the ball was being held). Again, the rules of the game of basketball were quite different in that there was no five second count on the offensive player with possession of the ball. Another key difference was the

international basketball itself. It was much different than the U.S. basketball. The U.S. basketball was very similar to the ball used today in that it had seams, would bounce true, and was uniform in weight. The international ball looked like an oversized volleyball with no uniform seams. The ball did not bounce true and had a tendency to float like a knuckleball at times. The 1960 Olympic team, of which Warren was the assistant coach, has been called the original Dream Team and considered the greatest U.S. Olympic team that was made up of amateurs only. They may have been amateurs, but some of those members went on to be some of the best basketball players in NBA history. The “Big O”, Jerry West, and Jerry Lucas were college wonders that started on that team. Several other future NBA players also were on that team including Jerry Dischinger, Bob Boozer, Darrall Imhoff, Walt Bellamy, and Adrian Smith. The 1960 team blew the opponents off the court, winning the gold medal game over Brazil 90-36. Warren ended his coaching career after the 1960 Olympic game as the Caterpillar company elected to discontinue the team. The NBA was starting to flourish and the college game (in particular the NCAA division) was becoming very popular. Warren continued to work for Caterpillar and retired from the company with 40 years of service. In talking with Warren Womble, one comes away impressed by his humorous personality and his humble and unassuming nature. He talks about his players as if he had just coached them, remembering details of their game and their personality, but always ending with “I coached some really good players, good people, that allowed me to win games as a coach.” Mr. Womble is 93 years young and still living a dream like his “dream job with the Cats” and coaching the “original Dream Team.”

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Fayetteville

BULLDOGS Tradition Never Graduates By Marty Barnes

Fayetteville Bulldogs

Conference: 7A West Head Coach: Kyle Adams Assistant(s): Tommy Deffebaugh Lance Fisher Nathan Potorff Athletic Director: Barry Gebhart Principal: Steve Jacoby Superintendent: Vicki Thomas Last Year’s Overall Record: 23-7 Last Year’s Conference Record: 10-4

Place in Conference: 2nd State Tournament Finish: Runner-up

Number of Starters Lost: 3 Number of Returning Lettermen: 7 School Colors: Purple & White

Photos courtesy Kyle Troutman at the Daily Citizen

Historically, the Bulldogs are unmatched in the 7A West record books for wins, conference championships, state tournament success, and state tournament championships. If one researches the possible reasons why the Dawgs are the perennial power in the West, there is one school of thought that stands out immediately. If you guessed tradition, you are only halfway right. The correct response would be FAMILY tradition. There have only been three head basketball coaches to guide the Bulldogs since the mid-1960’s and they all have a common thread. First of the three was Joe Kretschmar, the godfather of ‘Dawg’ basketball who mentored his successor, Barry Gebhart, and Kyle Adams, the present coach. Each of these head coaches has had their own very successful style. The constant is they cut their teeth on the “Old Man’s” fundamental drills and practices. Kretschmar’s voice still rings in Bulldog locker rooms with his fundamental emphasis, “By gosh you’d better be able to hunker down on defense because the Dawgs don’t allow anyone through their front door without going through five Dawgs.” The current Bulldog coaching staff is among the list of who’s who in Bulldog basketball. Assistant coach Lance Fisher’s main responsibility is not only assisting varsity/jv but also coaching the sophomore team. Fish brings a competitive nature to the young pups as he was one tough Dawg on both ends of the court when he played for FHS. Assistant coach

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Tommy Deffebaugh has a resume’ sheet like no other assistant in the state. Not only was Coach Deffebaugh a scoring machine for the Dawgs during his playing days but also played and coached at the NCAA Division I level. Head Coach Adams was the calm and cool point guard on the ‘78 Bulldog state championship team. As a young coach in the Bulldog junior high system, he brought that same cool and calm nature as he taught the fundamentals and winning tradition up through the “system”. For the past three years at the Bulldog helm, Adams has kept the FHS tradition going. Do not be fooled by his coolness on the bench. He is one fierce and calculating competitor who is just staying true to his nature and personality. Last year, he accomplished a remarkable feat under adverse conditions. A clerical error caused the Bulldogs to forfeit their first four conference wins, leaving the team that was picked to finish first in the 7A West in dire straits. How did the Bulldogs respond? They followed the personality of their head coach without team panic or despair. The Dawgs hunkered down and won their next ten conference games and three games in the state tournament before falling to Little Rock Hall in the state championship game. The Bulldogs lost three of their top eight players off their 23-7 team from last season. Bulldog FANatics are already fired up in anticipation of the possibilities for this year’s team. The Bulldogs will boast size, experience, and depth as strengths for this squad. 6’11” senior Tyler McCullough returns to anchor down the post position. As


a junior, Tyler averaged 11 ppg, 8 rebounds per game, and blocked 86 shots during the season on his way to All Conference, All State, and KURM Player of the Year awards. Senior Manuale Watkins, 6’3” All Conference/All State guard, returns to anchor an experienced backcourt. Manuale was last year’s second leading scorer at 10.4 ppg and an impressive 5 rebounds per game plus 3.5 assists per game. As good as his offensive stats were, Manuale could also clamp down the defense on the opponents’ leading scorers. Three year starter Cameron Paschke also returns to the backcourt and brings his outside shooting as his main contribution to the team. Make no mistake, opponents have to know where he is outside the arc as this athlete can drill it. One of the most versatile returning big men in the 7A West is 6’8” All Conference performer Caleb Waitsman (7 ppg - 6 rebounds per game). The Waitsman/McCullough power game is more than a handful for opponents. While McCullough mans the low post position, Waitsman adds a lethal combination with his quickness and range for a big man. Waitsman is a hard match for any opponent because of his size, speed, and a hard-nosed attitude for rebounds and taking it to the basket. Another key player for the Dawgs is 6’3” multiposition player Jawan Smith. The 6’3” wingman averaged 8.8 points per game and could arguably be the most athletic player on the team. 6’5” wingman Tre Boyd and

5’10” Robert Gooderl round out some key positions being counted on by the coaching staff. Newcomer 6’2” Chasen Williamson, transfer from Springdale High School, gives the already deep Bulldogs some extra depth at the guard positions. Coaching opponents have been scratching their heads trying to figure out all the different ways this Fayetteville team could defend or attack on offense. The old Fayetteville gym is gone now and it was full of memories and tradition. BUT, the new Bulldog Arena is getting ready to establish its own tradition and the “Dawg Pound” tradition will live on!

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Fayetteville

Lady Bulldogs

Rebuilding A Giant By Harrison Stanfill

Fayetteville Lady Bulldogs Conference: 7A West Head Coach: Vic Rimmer Assistant(s): Carol Acree

Athletic Director: Barry Gebhart Principal: Steve Jacoby Superintendent: Vicki Thomas Last Year’s Overall Record: 12-15 Last Year’s Conference Record: 6-8

Place in Conference: 6th State Tournament Finish: Lost in First Round Number of Starters Lost: 3 Number of Returning Lettermen: 7 School Colors: Purple and White

Two years ago, the Fayetteville Lady Bulldogs were the most feared team in Arkansas. They had a state championship, a number 16 national ranking, and a 16 game winning streak. Last season, the Lady Bulldogs finished with a 12-15 record and were knocked out in the first round of the state tournament. By Fayetteville standards, it was a disappointing season, but for second-year Head Coach Vic Rimmer, it is a mission to restore the glory to a nationally-renowned program. This year, the Lady Bulldogs will start the season without three of the starters from last year’s team. But, the players that are returning is a solid group of young talent that is ready to prove that the Fayetteville Lady Bulldogs can be a serious contender, once again. One of the keys needed for Fayetteville’s success this season is going to be the play from senior forward, Vanessa Matlock. Matlock, 5’11, was the defensive anchor for the Bulldogs last season. Last season, Matlock averaged more than

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8 rebounds and 2 blocks per game; in order for Fayetteville to be successful, Coach Rimmer is going to need that same consistent performance out of Matlock again this season. The senior that is going to predicate how well the Lady Bulldogs perform is guard, Aubrey Edie. Edie, who also led Fayetteville to a state volleyball championship, is returning as one of the leading scorers for Fayetteville. Edie averaged 7 points per game last season. Coach Rimmer is relying on Edie to step up and lead a younger group of guards. Along with seniors, Matlock and Edie, the Lady Bulldogs have a plethora of talent in the junior and sophomore class. Coach Rimmer is anxious to explore this depth of talent. One of those new talents, Caylea Moore started five conference games as a sophomore last season and averaged three assists per game. Starting as a sophomore in five, 7A West games shows major confidence by Rimmer in this young guard. And, in the end, Moore gained valuable experience from


his show of confidence. You can expect that Moore is going to have her responsibilities increased this year. Fayetteville has another young talent that is ready to prove that she belongs on the court. Jaylah Prude, 5’7 sophomore guard, is hoping to prove just that. Coach Rimmer believes Prude could be a starter for his team this year. Coach Rimmer is excited about the young possibilities that are ready to take the court. “We have meshed really well,” Rimmer said. “They are excited to get the season started.” The Lady Bulldogs are going into this season with an interesting mix of talent. With older and younger players alike with experience in playing in those big moments for Fayetteville last season, it can only help this promising squad during their grueling conference schedule. But, the Fayetteville Lady Bulldogs playing in the best conference in the state, no longer strike fear into their opponents like they once did. The Lady Bulldog’s road back to a winning destiny is going to be an uphill climb. But ask anyone in their league, and they will tell you, it is never a wise idea to count out-the Fayetteville Bulldogs.

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Bentonville

TIGERS The Eye of the Tiger By Marty Barnes

Bentonville Tigers

Conference: 7A West Head Coach: Jason McMahan Assistant(s): Bobby Stadel Brian Matchell Brandon Cole Athletic Director: Scott Passmore Principal: Kim Garett Superintendent: Michael Poore Last Year’s Overall Record: 16-13 Last Year’s Conference Record: 6-8

Place in Conference: 6th State Tournament Finish: 1st round Number of Starters Lost: 3 Number of Returning Lettermen: 3 School Colors: Black & Gold

Photos courtesy Kyle Troutman at the Daily Citizen

Watch a Tiger practice or go in the locker room and it is evident that this could be the year that Bentonville takes a big step into the upper level of the 7A. The look, the feel, and the players’ and coaches’ passion/work ethic all project that the Tigers have arrived. When Coach McMahan took the BHS basketball job four years ago, his intentions were to steadily build a program that would challenge for its place among the leaders of both the 7A West and the 7A State. This could very well be the year of the Tiger. Members of the Tigers coaching staff have remained intact during the last four years and have developed quite a positive chemistry. Coach Mac assigns specific coaching duties and the staff works impressively together as they prepare the players individually and as a team. Staff members have some impressive credentials in their own right. Coach McMahan and assistant Brian Matchell were part of the 2008 state championship run at Siloam Springs. Assistant Brandon Cole is an up and coming young coach who as a player at John Brown University broke every three point field goal record on the way to the Eagles’ national championship. Assistant Bobby Stadel, one of the rising young coaches in the state, has developed the reputation within the conference as a defensive specialty coach that requires opponents to prepare hard for the Tigers. If the Tigers’ leadership is coming from the senior class, the team will be in great shape. Six seniors will make up part of the Tigers varsity. Their sole mission seems to be to make a legitimate run at the conference title and be ready in March to take their game deep into the state tournament. As with any good team leadership, it cannot be one dimensional and these seniors

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are together on all phases. Their team/ individual chemistry and camaraderie will put them in position to attain their team goals. The seniors’ 3.71 average gpa also sets a high bar away from the court for the underclassmen to understand that to be a Tiger takes total commitment to excellence.

Bentonville returns two seniors that are arguably in the top mix of the 7A West returning players. Nick Smith, 6’8” forward, returns as the leading scorer from last season averaging a double/ double, 20 ppg and 10.3 rebounds per game. Nick is a very versatile player with three point range and the ability to score in and around the paint. Opponents better know where Smith is when a shot goes up because this quick athletic jumper is a serious rebound threat at both ends of the floor. Austin Heard, 6’2” combo guard, provides the Tigers with deep three point range and aggressive hard-nosed drives to the basket. Heard was second in scoring


last season averaging 12.2 ppg and three assists per game. His aggressiveness also accounts for his nearly four rebounds per game coming from a perimeter position. Another senior that started off and on last year is Austin Haggard. The 5’10” Haggard is an aggressive hustler that plays hard at both ends of the court. Look for Haggard to improve on his 4 ppg and 2.8 assists per game from last year. Key newcomer for the Tigers will be a freshman, Tyrik Dixon. The 5’11” point guard will give the Tigers an athletic scoring point guard that can also “D” up and contain opponents’ penetration at the defensive end. Coach McMahan loves the way this team has prepared itself for the upcoming season. The spring, summer, and pre-season practices have given Coach Mac a glimpse of just how good this team could be. He has come away believing his team is “A group of guys committed to getting better every day. Our guys want to make a move to be thought of as a great program and they want to do this

on their watch.” No doubt, the Tigers have the coaching staff and the returning players to put their opponents on notice. Tiger fans, get ready to rumble!

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Bentonville

Lady Tigers All Eyes on the Tigers By Harrison Stanfill

Bentonville Lady Tigers Conference: 7A West Head Coach: Tom Halbmaier Assistant(s): Debbie Castro, Randy Richardson, Ray Mayer

The eyes of the 7A West are on the Bentonville Lady Tigers this season. After finishing with a 20-10 overall record last season, Bentonville returns four senior class starters. And, this season, The Lady Tigers are poised to make a run at a 7A West title. When your team wins 20 games in a season, returning four starters the next season, you have to anticipate some high expectations. The Lady Tigers are in that exact spot… facing some very high expectations

don’t concern themselves. What they are concerned with is doing the very things that will make them better throughout the season. “We are going to focus on us, and what we need to do to get better as a team,” Halbmaier said. “It is a long season- we must pay attention to the little things.”

Athletic Director: Scott Passmore Principal: Kim Garrett Superintendent: Michael Poore Last Year’s Overall Record: 20-10 Last Year’s Conference Record: 7-7

Place in Conference: 5th State Tournament Finish: Elite Eight Number of Starters Lost: 1 Number of Returning Lettermen: 9 School Colors: Black and Gold

this season. But for Head Coach Tom Halbmaier and his Lady Tigers expectations are something that they

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And, the little things are something that the Lady Tigers know all too well. This season’s team is a seniorladen team experienced in playing big minutes-in big games. The Lady Tigers made an elite eight run last season; their players know what it takes to get back to the state tournament. The Lady Tigers are looking to break through the 7A pack and prove


why everybody is on the lookout for them. This team is expected to play fast this season. And, that is just how

Coach Halbmaier wants it. Halbmaier thinks that this team is one of the most athletic teams he has ever coached. Halbmaier is going to let that athleticism be the strength of his team. With all of the conditioned athletes that the Lady Tigers have playing for them, Halbmaier wants to get them out and run the floor. “We have good team speed and they do a great job getting out in the lanes,” Halbmaier said. “They need to share the responsibility of being ready to play every night.” Being ready to play every night is easier when one of the four starters that Bentonville returns from last year is Senior Guard Taylor Lee. Lee returns as the Lady Tigers leading scorer, averaging 15.4 points per game, and the heart of the Bentonville team. This outstanding point per game average has established Lee as one of the premiere scorers in the 7A West. Coach Halbmaier expects Lee to claim her spot as one of the best all-around players in the league and become even more on than just another scoring threat. “ She has grown so much with her overall game,” Halbmaier said. “She now understands the importance of getting all her teammates involved. She has really improved her vision.” Lee is part of a core group of four returning senior starters for the Lady Tigers. But Bentonville is not a onewoman team; Brooke Maebus, Rashaun Casey, and Julia Garrard all have a lot of experience to offer as they return for their senior season. Casey is a 5’8 guard who was second on the team averaging eight points per game last season. Casey is a well-rounded guard who also averaged five rebounds and two steals per game. Forward Julia Garrard

is going to be the presence in the post driving this Lady Tiger team. Garrard averaged five points per game last season. But her biggest impact on the court last season was felt on the defensive side of the game as she averaged three blocks and 2.5 steals per game. Halbmaier is going to be counting on all of them, and expects them to be gameready every night. The 7A West is one of the toughest leagues in Arkansas. There will be no night off for the Lady Tigers. When it comes down to it, Bentonville has a target on its back. The Lady Tigers are the most experienced team, returning one of the best players in the league. If The Lady Tigers are going to be successful this season, they are going to have to play to their strengths: running the floor and not making mistakes that experienced teams shouldn’t make. And, if the Lady Tigers can do this, then all eyes really will be on this team as they claim their spot at the top of this league.

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Siloam Springs

PANTHERS New Conference Moving Up By Marty Barnes

Siloam Springs Panthers Conference: 7A West/6A South Head Coach: Tim Stewart Assistant(s): Chris Cameron Scott Wright

There are a lot of changes taking place in Siloam Springs athletics. The biggest change involves moving up in classification, playing athletics in the 7A West Conference, and trying to qualify for state tournament play through the power point system of the 6A South. The other significant change in Siloam Springs athletics is that they will be putting less miles on their buses. Siloam had been traveling close to three hours or more to play the 5A West

Athletic Director: Kevin Snavely Principal: Charlie Abernathy Superintendent: Ken Ramey Last Year’s Overall Record: 18-10 Last Year’s Conference Record: 9-5

Place in Conference: 5th State Tournament Finish: N/A Number of Starters Lost: 1/2 Number of Returning Lettermen: 8

School Colors: Maroon and Gray

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opponents on the far east side of that conference. The Panthers now have only one conference trip that is barely an hour away from home, with most conference games being approximately thirty minutes from Siloam Springs. Coach Stewart’s reaction to the step up in classification was mixed, and that is well understood. The Panthers are having to “play up” two classifications for conference play, then turn around and play in the 6A


state tournament that is arguably the toughest of the state tournament fields. The other mixed emotion is that he feels as though the Panthers’ returning lettermen could have made a run at a 5A state championship this year. Stewart is very realistic about the whole situation and he takes the approach that you can’t look back nor can you ignore reality. There is no doubt Coach Stewart and his staff will have the Panthers fighting for the upper rankings in the 7A West. The ‘Panther Attack’ features one of the best players in the conference in 6’8” senior Payton Henson. Henson resembles the total offensive package. At 6’8” he commands a presence around the basket at all times. The real difficulty Payton presents to opponents is that he is athletic and skilled enough to play at the high post or out on the perimeter. Last season, Payton got everybody’s attention in the state as he averaged a double-double, 25 ppg and 11 rebounds per game.

Joining Henson as returning starters from last year are: 6’1” senior guard Shane Carlson, 6’5” junior Dylan Gray, and 6’1” junior Reece Goddard. Carlson’s statistics from last year were impressive as he averaged 10 ppg and 3 assists per game. Dylan Gray had a really good sophomore season where he averaged 8 ppg and 5 rebounds per contest. Likewise, Goddard had a good sophomore campaign averaging 6 ppg and 2 assists per game. It is obvious that Henson/Gray work well together in the power

positions, as well as Carlson and Goddard’s strong play in the backcourt for the Panthers. Coach Stewart sees these four athletes as very solid performers that work well within the team scope of the game. The Panthers also have a nucleus of returning players that can step in and play a variety of roles. The returnees Coach Stewart is banking on for contributions are: 5’11” senior Austin Comiskey, 6’1” senior Nick Seliga, 6’2” senior Austin Van Poucke, 5’4” senior Scott Alexander, 6’2” junior Chandler Gregory, and 6’ junior Stephan Horoyd. Added to the list of returnees is an up-and-coming newcomer who has paid his dues on the junior varsity in previous seasons, 5’11” Raul Leyva. All in all, this gives the Panther team a lot of experience and depth that will come in handy as they prepare for the conference and state competitions. The biggest positive Coach Stewart sees in this year’s Panther team is the strong senior leadership that has experience playing together and understanding their roles against tough competition. As always, look for a Stewart coached team that plays aggressively on the defensive end of the court and tries to play up-tempo at any given opportunity. Yes, the Siloam Springs Panthers have to face a lot of changes during this upcoming season. The coaching staff and players are optimistic that their work ethic, team chemistry, and abilities will allow them to play for their traditional Panther goals. Look for the Panthers to make a solid run in the 7A West in preparation for the 6A State Tournament.

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Siloam Springs

Lady Panthers

New Territory By Harrison Stanfill

Siloam Springs Lady Panthers Conference: 7A West/6A South Head Coach: Brett Sanders Assistant(s): Janet Moore, Rebecca Ault Athletic Director: Kevin Snavely Principal: Charlie Abernathy Superintendent: Ken Ramey Last Year’s Overall Record: 18-11 Last Year’s Conference Record: 9-5

Place in Conference: 3rd State Tournament Finish: 1st Round Number of Starters Lost: 3 Number of Returning Lettermen: 6 School Colors: Maroon and Gray

The Siloam Springs Lady Panthers are in a new position this season. The Lady Panthers have a new season with a new classification, a new coach, and many new faces. This fresh start offers many exciting possibilities. The Lady Panthers finished with an 18-11 record overall last season, going 9-5 in conference play. That record was good enough to earn a third place finish, qualifying the Lady Panthers for the state tournament. But with this season’s fresh start, Siloam Springs has to adjust to a new conference offering a variety of new opponents. But, this new challenge is something that first-year Head Coach Brett Sanders thinks is going to make his team better suited for the 6A playoffs. “I was able to see some of the teams we will play, this summer,” Sanders said. “The talent level in the 7A is great, I think this will make us a better team for the 6A playoffs.” Brett Sanders is entering his first year coaching the Siloam Springs Lady Panthers; in fact, this is his first year coaching in Arkansas. But, not brand new to the game, Sanders is entering into his 26th year coaching basketball, but for the past 15 years, he has been seated in a head-coaching position in Oklahoma. It will be an adjustment for him to come into his Arkansas tenure coaching the Lady Panthers in one of the best conferences in the state of Arkansas. Sanders is looking forward to having some players who he can build a team around that will be able to play his style of basketball. One of the keys for the Lady Panthers success this season lies in buying in to Coach Sander’s style of play. Like most teams in the 7A West, the Siloam Springs Lady Panthers are looking to play a more up-tempo style of offense and pressure man-to-man defense. “Right now, I hope my girls will play hard and buy into the way I like to play,” Sanders said. One of Sanders’ players expected to be the foundation for his building program is Morgan Miller. Miller is a junior forward

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standing at 5’8 with the ability to do it all for the Siloam Springs Lady Panthers. As a sophomore, Miller averaged 9.3 points per game last season. But she is more than just a scoring threat; she threw in 1.6 assists, 1.8 steals, and 5.7 rebounds per game. Miller shot 49% from the field and 44% from 3-point range last season, all this as a sophomore. And those numbers are only expected to get better as she gets older. Miller will be playing tougher competition this season, but Sanders believes that she is one of the best players in the league and will prove her skills with her play. “Morgan has a great short range game and understands reads very well,” Sanders said. “She is one of the best passers I have ever coached.” Sanders is going to have a challenge this season. After Juniors, Morgan Miller and Ashlin Stock who averaged 3.8 points per game last season, there is not a lot of experience for Siloam Springs. Coach Sanders will be relying on young players playing big moments for the first time. Sophomores Bailey Cameron, Bailey Owens, and Mirna Torres are all going to be called upon this season for the Lady Panthers. But, according to Coach Sanders, inexperience in conference play isn’t necessarily a negative. Coach Sanders believes he has athletes on this team who are going to benefit from playing lots of minutes this season. “We are very young, but I believe by the end of the year, we could be a team to contend with,” Sanders said. “I like their work ethic and the way they listen.” Siloam Springs is entering a new era of Panther basketball. With a new coach and new style of play, the Lady Panthers are looking to build for the future in a new conference. The Lady Panthers are going to learn on-thejob this season, but with a lot of talented underclassmen, getting valuable experience, they should be ready to make their mark on the future of Siloam Springs basketball.


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Rogers

Lady Mountaineers Challenged To Replace Four Starters By Marty Barnes

Rogers Lady Mounties Conference: 7A West Head Coach: Preston Early Assistant(s): Blu Green

Athletic Director: Mark Holderbaum Principal: Robert Moore Superintendent: Dr. Janie Darr Last Year’s Overall Record: 22-6 Last Year’s Conference Record: 11-3

Place in Conference: 2nd State Tournament Finish: Elite 8 Number of Starters Lost: 4 Number of Returning Lettermen: 1

School Colors: Royal Blue & White

Some coaches could say that this should be a rebuilding year for the Lady Mountaineers since they lost four starters from last season’s 22-6 team. Coach Early would not be one of those coaches. Losing 37 points on offense to graduation and last season’s conference best defensive team (holding conference opponents to 37 ppg) is a tough challenge for any team. If the Lady Mountaineers’ winning tradition of the past fourteen years under Early is any indication, this team will again be back in the hunt for a conference championship. Gone from the 7A West conference this year is the traditional powerhouse, Fort Smith Northside Lady Grizzlies. Most of the 7A West coaches see this year’s conference title up for grabs with no clear-cut favored team. That is just where Coach Early wants to be with this relatively inexperienced team. Coach Early’s philosophy will be to let the team start out playing to improve and learn their roles, and then have them ready to make their move when it counts in conference play. The Lady Mountaineers may have the most experienced basketball coaching staff in the state. Perhaps you are scratching your head wondering how that could be possible since Early has twenty years of coaching experience and his assistant, Blu Green, a mere four years of coaching experience. Coach Preston Early is the son of legendary University of

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Arkansas at Monticello coach, Alvy Early. Alvy Early was recently elected to the UAM Hall of Fame and is the winningest basketball and girls softball coach in the university’s history. Coach Alvy Early has been involved in girls athletics since the late 1960’s. Alvy is sometimes humorously referred to as the coach that persuaded Dr. Naismith to quit using the peach baskets for a goal and to use a rim. Coach Blu Green also comes from a basketball coaching family. Blu’s dad is Mike Green, a very successful coach in Northwest Arkansas for thirty plus years. Preston and Blu became acquainted with a gym as early as their diaper days, and are gym-rats throughand-through as players, and now as coaches. Leadership for the Lady Mounties will not be a concern. Anchoring the team is threeyear starter, twotime all conference, and two-time all state, Taylor Strickland. Taylor has already filled some big shoes as she has broken the single season scoring record of Morgan Hook (presently a starter at the University of Oklahoma) and is on pace to also break Morgan’s career scoring record. On the offensive end of the floor, Taylor is as tough a scorer to stop as any player in the state. She possesses the ability to post an opponent and score in the power positions, plus she has the skills to draw an opponent out on the floor where she has a soft touch and the athleticism to go one-on-one. As the season progresses, look for some


of the inexperienced players to start taking some pressure off of Taylor by scoring from their positions. One key returner for the Lady Mounties is McKinzie James. James may be the most athletic player on the team as she is also a star soccer player. McKinzie has the ability to go by her opponent and create some open looks at the basket or dump a pass down to a teammate. Also returning is 5’11” power player Samantha Warren. Samantha holds one of the keys to taking pressure off of Strickland by manning a post position and letting Taylor play a more diverse role. Hannah Hawley, 5’8” senior guard, should give the Lady Mounties some depth on the perimeter and the ability to score behind the arc. The key newcomers will be 5’5” transfer guard Cassandra Trexler and sophomore guard Libby Ganoung. Trexler should provide extra depth at either guard position. Libby is a 5’7” guard that can play either guard position as well and looks to be the starting point guard. Ganoung led the Mountie freshman team in scoring and assists last season. With the conference looking like it will be gridlocked for the top three or four teams, the team that can play consistently under the gun and realize that every game is important could take the top prize. Coach Early’s experience at the helm, Taylor’s experience and leadership, and key player development as the season progresses should give the Lady Mounties as good a shot at the title as any other 7A West team.

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Front Row L to R: Hunter Hill, Ty Galyean, Brandley Quillen, Reed Hill, Xavier Smith, Keifer Holt 2nd Row L to R: Tevin Keown, Alex Ryals, Drake Breshears, Grant Holman, Wayne Henry, Cameron Carroll, Caleb Surly Back Row L to R: Ass’t Coach Brian Ross, Brett Gentz, Zach Jones, Trevor Hampton, Josh Anderson, Nathan Musso, Collin Jones

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Rogers

MOUNTAINEERS A New Reign By Harrison Stanfill

Rogers Mountaineers

Conference: 7A West Head Coach: Wayne Herren Assistant(s): Brian Ross Athletic Director: Mark Holderbaum Principal: Robert Moore Superintendent: Dr. Janie Darr Last Year’s Overall Record: 19-9 Last Year’s Conference Record: 9-5

Place in Conference: 2nd State Tournament Finish: Lost in Quarterfinals Number of Starters Lost: 4 Number of Returning Lettermen: 5 School Colors: Royal Blue and White

There is a changing of the guard at Rogers High School. Over the past Eight Years Rogers has enjoyed some of it’s greatest success on the basketball court, but this season they enter with a new coach and a new look to their lineup. With new changes facing Rogers, the Mountaineers are a bit of a mystery to everyone else in the 7A West, and that is just fine with new head coach, Wayne Herren. “Anytime you have to prepare for something different than you’re used to it is a challenge,” Herren said Leading this new reign is the Mounties Head Coach, Wayne Herren in his first season at Rogers High School. Herren began his head coaching experience in 2007 at what was known then as Pulaski Oak Grove, and, he never had a losing season with what is known now as Maumelle High School. At Rogers, Herren will be tasked with keeping the Mounties at the level of success to which they have become accustomed. Rogers has a long history of success including advancing to at least the 7A Elite Eight for the past five years, a 7A State Tournament Runner Up in 20082009, and a visit to the final four in 2010-2011. In his six years as a head

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coach, Herren has a record of 103-77. Herren is credited with turning around a Maumelle team taking them to their first Final Four in 26 years. Senior Point Guard Keifer Holt, the Mounties only returning starter was second on the team in minutes played last season and is going to have a major impact on the way the Mounties will play this season. Along with Keifer Holt, Zach Jones, a 6’4 senior who averaged 10 minutes per game last season, is the most seasoned post player the Mounties have. Herren believes that Jones is going to provide the “toughness” and “leadership” that Rogers is going to need. After Holt and Jones, the Mounties don’t have much in the way of experience. It is going to be up to Herren to fill out his roster with the plethora of young talent at his disposal. And, the Mounties have a core of young talent that is just waiting for their shot at some varsity minutes. Newcomer Joe Adams has been waiting longer than most. Adams transferred from Pea Ridge to Rogers after his sophomore year. But a shoulder injury from football forced Adams to sit out his junior year. The 6’5 Adams is not your typical backto-the-basket, big man, and Herren is expecting big things out of this big


The Mounties are looking to a lot of unproven players to step up this season. Rogers averaged 43.1 points on offense last season while only giving up 36.1 points per game. Rogers and defense go hand in hand, and Herren expects that to be no different this season. “The strengths of our team should be the guard play and team defense” Herren said. “We will be looking to play more uptempo than in the past, while we hope to maintain the defensive intensity that Rogers Basketball has been known for.” The Mounties open up their season at home against Pea Ridge on November 17th. player. “He is a very athletic, big man, who can run the floor really well.” Herren said. “We are looking for a huge offensive and defensive impact from Joe.” Adams is not the only newcomer who is going to provide much needed size for the Rogers Mounties. Forward Brett Gentz is a 6’3 junior who led the JV team in assists last year as a sophomore. Gentz is athletic and can stretch a defense with his ability to score inside and out. He is expected to do just that for the varsity team. Forward Zach Street, a 6’3 sophomore, is physically mature and the leading scorer for the 9th grade team last season, he is expected to battle for varsity playing time and will have an impact whenever his number is called. Strong guard play is going to fall on the shoulders of senior guard, Keifer Holt and junior guards, Hunter Hill and Xavier Smith. Smith is coming off an injury-plagued season last year and is expected to provide a defensive spark for the Mounties. Hill, who is a great shooter, is going to have the biggest change from last season to this season. Last season Hill was used as a three-point specialist but this season, Hill is looking at an expanded offensive role. Hill is going to be one of the top scoring options for the Mounties.

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PREVIOUS TOURNAMENT RECORDS Rogers

2011 TOURNAMENT RESULTS

17 wins - 1 loss

Championship - Rogers HS

Webb City

6 wins - 3 losses

Runner-up - Webb City HS

Mt. Vernon

7 wins - 5 losses

Third Place - Mt. Vernon HS

Heritage

6 wins - 6 losses

Fifth Place - OKC Southeast HS

Pea Ridge

4 wins - 5 losses

Seventh Place - Hot Springs HS

Hot Springs

4 wins - 8 losses Key Individual Records

Most Pts. - Game

Zach Kleine - Mt. Vernon

37

Most 3 Pt. FGs Made - Game

Dakota Woodward - Rea Ridge

6

Most FT’s Made - Game

Zach Kleine - Mt. Vernon

16

Most Points - Tournament

Zach Kleine - Mt. Vernon

84

Zach Kleine - Mt. Vernon

74

Chris Hughes - Hot Springs

68

Nate Jones - Bartlesville

65

Kane Moix - Rogers

63

Aaron Hawley - Rogers

61

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Rogers Heritage

WAR EAGLES Building A program Brick by Brick By Marty Barnes The Rogers School District split into two high schools in the fall of 2008, and with that split Rogers Heritage High School was born. The 2008-09 school year was very unique since there were no seniors in the building that first year. The decision had been made to allow

Rogers Heritage War Eagles

Conference: 7A West Head Coach: Tom Olsen Assistant(s): Jon Cook, Tom Williams

Eagles are ready to take their program to a new level. Coach Olsen is a Rogers native and a record-holder from his playing days in the Rogers School District. As a point guard for the Mounties from 1987-89, he ended his career as one of the top three scorers in Rogers High School history. Tom played college basketball in the family’s

Athletic Director: Mark Holderbaum Principal: Karen Steen Superintendent: Dr. Janie Darr Last Year’s Overall Record: 10-18 Last Year’s Conference Record: 3-11

Place in Conference: 7th State Tournament Finish: NA Number of Starters Lost: 1 Number of Returning Lettermen: 8

School Colors: Navy Blue & Orange

the senior class of 2009 to be able to graduate as one class at Rogers High School. To the coaches of Heritage High School, it meant having to compete against the already tough 7A West teams with a “short hand”. Since that opening year at Heritage, Coach Olsen has set out to build a basketball program from the bottom up, brick by brick. No, it has not always been a pleasant task and, yes, there have been many more downs than ups, BUT there is light at the end of the tunnel. For the first time since the 2010 squad, the War Eagles are returning four starters and a substantial number of lettermen. With the four previous seasons serving as the foundation, it appears that the War

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original home state of Wisconsin before transferring to Arkansas Tech to finish his degree. While at Tech, Coach “O” was part of a coaching staff that put together a string of three straight conference championships, two regional championships, and a Final Four & Sweet 16 finish in the National Tournament. As an assistant coach at Rogers High School, he helped guide the Mounties to a conference championship in 2006, the first in the


school’s history since 1957. That resume’ made Coach Olsen a natural fit to be named the head coach of Heritage High School and start the basketball program from the ground up. He immediately hired Jon Cook to assist him in this building project. Coach Cook had been an assistant coach in one of the most successful basketball programs in Southeast Arkansas, Pine Bluff High School. The War Eagles’ returning starters are: 5’10” senior Hayden Greenway, 6’2” senior Luke Fryuaf, 6’ senior Xavier Thomas, and 6’ junior Crist Olsen. Fryuaf is coming off a really good junior season statistically and looks to be the scoring leader again for this year’s team. Greenway and Thomas give the War Eagles depth in the back court and both players have an aggressive demeanor about themselves that is needed in 7A West basketball. Crist Olsen gives the War Eagles a legitimate three point shooting threat from any place on the floor.

presence. 6’4” senior Jake Robbins has the inevitable job of playing the power position on a team where he is the tallest man. Look for the War Eagles’ key newcomer, 6’2” sophomore Connor Hirsh, transfer from Fort Smith, to play a variety of roles. Word has it that Connor is a physical type player that could give the War Eagles a much needed power forward.

Coach Olsen loves this team and thinks they have the leadership and experience necessary to handle the conference grind. The returning lettermen know how to run the War Eagle system. This team obviously has one negative in that they are not very tall, but the Heritage players fit the movie billing of “though we be small, we be fierce”. The War Eagles are hungry to prove that they are a program on the rise. They have endured the bumps and bruises of a new program, leaving them extremely hungry for the next level. Look for the War Eagles to be a factor in the 7A West battles for one of the places to the state tournament. Coach “O” has set his sights on coaching the first War Eagle basketball team to make it to the state tournament. The foundation has been set, so let the building continue!

Key returning player Wyatt Kinnamon, 5’ 10” junior guard, fits the same mold as Crist Olsen in that he can stroke the three pointer. With Kinnamon and Olsen having a year under their belt as sophomores, one can foresee these two really giving their team a formidable outside scoring

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Rogers Heritage

Lady War Eagles Hungry and Highly Motivated By Marty Barnes

Rogers Heritage Lady War Eagles Conference: 7A West Head Coach: Kevin Ramey Assistant(s): Chelsea Perry Jeannie Qualls

Athletic Director: Mark Holderbaum Principal: Karen Steen Superintendent: Dr. Janie Darr Last Year’s Overall Record: 12-16 Last Year’s Conference Record: 2-12

Place in Conference: 7th State Tournament Finish: N/A Number of Starters Lost: 1 Number of Returning Lettermen: 6

School Colors: Navy Blue & Orange

Last season started off as though the Lady War Eagles were going to be in the mix for a state tournament berth. Their nonconference won-loss record at one time read 9 wins and 4 losses. Unfortunately, the injury bug started taking its toll. At least four Lady War Eagles were eventually sidelined with season ending knee injuries, and that halted the momentum and confidence they had generated. The Lady War Eagles limped through the conference schedule and finished 2-12 in the conference. That’s the bad news. The good news is this year’s squad, for the first time in the school’s short history, returns a wealth of experience! Coach Kevin Ramey handles adversity as well as any coach in girls basketball. If there is ever an optimistic way to look at adversity, Coach Ramey will find it and preach the positives to his players. If there is a positive side to the injuries that the Lady War Eagles suffered last year, Coach Ramey believes it is that “a lot of players got playing time, and that equates to valuable experience this year since the athletes understand

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the system better and the expectations of team offense and defense.” Ramey also believes that the team’s dealing with last season’s bad breaks has brought a new sense of team chemistry and a more powerful sense of team pride. Key returning starters for the Lady War Eagles are Brittany Ward, Lacey Murray, Ellen Lundy, and Ashley Ward. Brittany, a 5’7” senior guard, was averaging 18 ppg in conference play before going down with a season ending knee injury. Lacey, a 5’9” senior guard, is the team’s leading threepoint shooter, having made 90 three’s in her career. Ellen Lundy, a 6’ senior forward, is a multiposition player. Last year, she was forced to play all five positions at one time or the other due to her teammates’ injuries. Lundy led the team in rebounding, blocked shots, and steals last season. Another key returner who missed last season due to a knee injury, is 5’7” senior Ashley Ward. Coach Ramey counts Ashley as a returner due to her leading the team in scoring her


sophomore season. For the War Eagles, these four seniors will provide the necessary leadership on both ends of the court. As Coach Ramey has expressed many times, “This is the first time a majority of our team is made up of juniors and seniors.” That is a valuable statistic for an athletic team from a school that just started playing sports four years ago. A key returning player from last season is 5’6” guard Gina Britton. Gina is another versatile athlete who played four different positions last season. Along with Gina is a roster of newcomers that Coach Ramey is high on: 5’11” junior Michelle Henderson, 5’10” junior Hanna Ricker, 5’6” sophomore Emile Jobst, 5’7” Olivia Allard, and 5’7” Sara Giesen. Coach Ramey loves the size of this team, its versatility, and obvious depth. Look for the Lady War Eagles to take a big leap into the conference race this year. Of course, they must stay healthy and not fall prey to the injury bug of last season. The key to their success very well may be the players’ ability to play a multitude of roles and utilize their team depth. Coach Ramey states, “This is the best Lady War Eagles shooting team to go on the court.” No doubt, they have the team chemistry that makes the Heritage Lady War Eagles hungry and highly motivated.

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Springdale

BULLDOGS Reloading With Versatility By Marty Barnes

Springdale Bulldogs Conference: 7A West Head Coach: Brad Stamps Assistant(s): Greg White Athletic Director: Wayne Stehlik Principal: Pete Joenks Superintendent: Dr. Jim Rollins Last Year’s Overall Record: 19-11 Last Year’s Conference Record: 9-5

Place in Conference: 4th State Tournament Finish: Elite 8 Number of Starters Lost: 4 Number of Returning Lettermen: 4 School Colors: Red & White

Gone from last year’s 1911 squad are several players who produced a large number of points per game. Coach Brad Stamps is keenly aware that dealing with such losses is to be expected when coaching high school athletics. All high school coaches understand the philosophy that reloading every year is essential to keep the program moving in a positive direction. Coach Stamps believes this team has the character, chemistry, and unselfish attitude to reload the team that played Little Rock Hall a great game in the Elite 8 game of the state tournament. The biggest positive Stamps sees in this team is its versatility with players who are willing and able to fill a variety of positions and roles. Four starters are gone from last year’s squad, which makes the two returning starters as key cogs in the reloading wheel. Dashaun Stark, a

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6’5” senior, is arguably one of the better athletes in the conference. He may be 6’5” but plays a couple of inches bigger than that and can play the perimeter or the inside game on offense or defense. Dashaun has the ability to score off the dribble drive or pull up for the jumper. One very important part of Dashaun’s game is his ability to guard the other team’s best scorer, whether it be a quick perimeter player or a power player inside. Returning lettermen that should play key roles this year are Alex Scharlau, Jordan Johnson, and Brendan Cook. Scharlau, a 6’5” senior, has started and played on the varsity team the previous two years. Alex has been known to opposing coaches as a very streaky shooter with nearly unlimited three point range. Some coaches in the league have pointed out that they fear Scharlau’s role and confidence will increase this year. Alex could really


excel this year in his expanded role as the go-to perimeter shooter for the Bulldogs. Scharlau’s shooting touch is a great one-two punch to go with his teammate Stark’s inside/ out play. Key newcomers this year will be Tereke Eckwood, Josiah Wymer, and Tyler Tutt. Eckwood was viewed by many coaches as possibly the best basketball player in the junior high conference last year. Tereke has great range on

his jump shot, can put it on the floor and go by his defender, and finishes well as he goes to the basket. As great as Eckwood is at scoring, a very underrated plus to his game is his passing ability and getting his teammates involved in the offense. Eckwood looks to be just the guard that Coach Stamps needs for this year’s Bulldog team. Tereke is a total package on both ends of the court. Look for his passing/assists to really make Dashaun’s and Alex’s jobs a little bit easier.

Head Coach Brad Stamps brings a great deal of 7A West Conference knowledge to Springdale. Brad played basketball under Joe Kretschmar at Fayetteville (a member of FHS’s 1987 state championship team), assisted former Fayetteville Bulldog head coach (and now Athletic Director) Barry Gebhart, assisted former HarBer head coach Eric Burnett (and now head basketball coach at Fort Smith Northside), and has served as head coach at Springdale High School the previous three seasons. One thing an opponent can count on when playing a Stamps team is that the game is going to have a fast tempo and a hard-nosed approach of getting to the basket off the dribble drive. Another major aspect of Coach Stamps’ teams is their ability to kick out the passes for the three pointers. On the defensive end, Stamps’ teams continue the pressure with their denial defense. Opponents have to be aware that limiting turnovers is a must and keeping the athletic Bulldogs off the boards is paramount. Many coaches in the league are concerned about the athleticism of the Bulldogs this year. If the ‘Dogs use their positive chemistry to play together, utilize their versatility, and play solid defense, they have the ability to play at the upper level of the conference. Most 7A West coaches feel Fayetteville, Bentonville, and Springdale are the top three teams in the conference. January and February should have some very exciting conference games with a lot at stake for March Madness!

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Springdale

Lady Bulldogs

Through The Fire By Harrison Stanfill

The Springdale Lady Bulldogs walked through the fire last year-going 5-23, 0-14 in conference. But, this year, the Lady Bulldogs are ready to prove they have what it takes to hang in the 7A West. “It is one of the hardest leagues in the state for a reason,”

Springdale Lady Bulldogs Conference: 7A West Head Coach: Heather Hunsucker Assistant(s): Sarah Pfeifer Athletic Director: Wayne Stehlik Principal: Pete Joenks Superintendent: Dr. Jim Rollins Last Year’s Overall Record: 5-23 Last Year’s Conference Record: 0-14

Place in Conference: 8th State Tournament Finish: N/A Number of Starters Lost: 3 Number of Returning Lettermen: 6 School Colors: Red and White

Head Coach Heather Hunsucker said. “Every team across the board is good.” Hunsucker is entering her second season as the Lady Bulldogs Head Coach. Coming from a winning pedigree, Hunsucker knows what it takes to lead a team to the top of the 7A West. Hunsucker won a state title as a player for Northside in 1999. As part of a coaching staff, Hunsucker spent five years as an assistant at Fayetteville High School with teams appearing in the State Championship game four years in a row and capturing the state title twice. Hunsucker’s first season leading the Springdale Lady Bulldogs didn’t produce the type of results to which she had become accustomed. But, Hunsucker likes where this year’s team is headed.

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Leading the charge for the Lady Bulldogs this year are the only two returning starters from last year’s Lady Bulldog team, Baiyinnah Taylor and Brittany Jurgens. Taylor is a junior point guard who averaged 2.6 assists per game last season starting 13 conference games as a sophomore. The 7A West is a tough field of competitors for any player, especially a sophomore, but Hunsucker expects big things from Junior “Baiy” Taylor. “It is hard to play in our league as a sophomore, but I knew that the experiences could only help our team in the future,” Hunsucker said. “Baiy hears from me all the time, ‘You are my returning starting point guard.’” Jurgens is a senior shooting guard who has accumulated 289 career total points. She is the most veteran player that Springdale has averaging 10.1 points and 3.7 assists per game last season. Jurgens started 13 conference games last season.

Last year’s team offered great experience to their six returning lettermen. These experienced Lady


Dogs are ready to make their mark this season. Last year’s core group of players “received a lot of varsity playing time last season and are really hard workers.” Hunsucker said. “They really play together and have good team chemistryon and off the floor.” Adding to that existing chemistry is a player that is going to be transitioning to the 7A West stage. Taylor McPherson is transferring from Shiloh Christian this season and is expected to bring a big impact for the Lady Bulldogs. Transitioning from 4A to 7A basketball would be a challenge for anyone. But, Coach Hunsucker says she believes that McPherson is going to make a quick adjustment. “Taylor is a great addition to our team.” Hunsucker said. “She is a taller guard and has a high basketball IQ. She has picked up on our system very fast and has already been accepted by her teammates.” The Lady Bulldogs are going to be challenged this season. Springdale’s defense is one of the biggest things

that the Bulldogs need to work on this season. Last year’s team allowed 55 points per game, and if this year’s team wants to be successful, they are going to have to improve on the defensive end. Offensively, the Lady Bulldogs are going to rely on three junior post players to get the points in the paint. Juniors Karen Perez, Daylee Gillyard, and Ashley Dederich are coming off of their sophomore seasons with valuable varsity experience. They will be expected to contribute this year. Last year, Perez shot only 46% from the field, but this year, with the skilled guard play that Springdale is returning, Perez’s chances-and those of the rest of the group-are going to increase tremendously. Last year, Coach Hunsucker and the Springdale Lady Bulldog Team went through the fire. But, this year, they expect to show the 7A West that they came out on the other side, a stronger, better team. A team that works hard and trusts each other, and ultimately a team that Springdale Bulldog fans can be proud to call their own.

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Springdale Har-Ber

WILDCATS 7A West Dark Horse Team? By Marty Barnes

Springdale Har-Ber Wildcats Conference: 7A West Head Coach: Adam Simmons Assistant(s): Jimmy Hester Athletic Director: Wayne Stehlik Principal: Dr. Danny Brackett Superintendent: Dr. Jim Rollins

Most coaches that lose four starters from the previous year are a little pessimistic about their expectations for the next season. Not so at Har-Ber High School. Coach Adam Simmons has a smile on his face and a skip to his step regarding his Wildcats. His optimistic outlook is further justified when one polls the 7A West opposition coaches. The remainder of the 7A West coaches have chosen the Wildcats as a Dark Horse team who is possibly able to break into the top three, but will definitely have a bearing on the conference placements. Coach Simmons feels his Wildcats have taken some hard looks

Last Year’s Overall Record: 9-19 Last Year’s Conference Record: 2-12

Place in Conference: 8th State Tournament Finish: N/A Number of Starters Lost: 4 Number of Returning Lettermen: 7

School Colors: Navy & Carolina Blue

within themselves after the two previous seasons saw the Wildcats struggling near the bottom of the conference standings. The results of that inner study have produced a really positive team chemistry and camaraderie that have been missing in his first two years as the Wildcat coach. Simmons states, “We have really made an emphasis of showing and sharing positive energy and not just the ‘rah rah’ stuff, but the meaningful respect for each other as teammates. Our practices are very competitive for each position, but at the same time competitive as in what is best for the whole of the team.” The Wildcats will rely on three seniors to provide the needed upperclassmen leadership: Justin

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Malott 6’3” guard, Haden Redmond 6’2” guard, and Alex Rice 6’7” forward. Of the three seniors, Rice is the sole returning starter and is slated to set the offensive tone for the team. At 6’7” Rice can create some mismatch problems for Wildcat opponents. Combining with three returning seniors is a very good nucleus of juniors that really showed a lot of promise as a junior varsity unit last year. Brandon Buccheri, 6’5” guardforward, has been a steady performer as a junior high player and last year on the JV team. Brandon, like Rice, is a mismatch problem in that he can play on the perimeter, can take a defender off the dribble, and has the size to move inside. Other juniors that will see varsity playing time are 6’3” Brady Blackwell, 6’2” Austin Fox, 5’10” Braxton Jester, and 5’10” Ricky Jones. In last year’s basketball spring pre-season poll, the Har-Ber Wildcats were picked to finish 7th in the conference this season. All indications are pointing to the Wildcats finishing much higher than the poll showed. If the Wildcats have truly improved their team chemistry and their skill levels have also improved, look for the Wildcats to truly be a spoiler in the conference. Most conference coaches have indicated that Fayetteville, Bentonville, and Springdale appear to have a front-row seat for the top three spots, but there are also those coaches who believe that the #2 spot through #8 are a scramble. If the later is correct, January and February should be full of some great basketball with each game having a big impact on the final conference standings. Wildcat fans, get your gym rockin’ every home game because every point this season could make the difference in the state tournament seedings!


Springdale Har-Ber

Lady Wildcats

Building A Winner By Harrison Stanfill Last season, the Har-Ber Lady Wildcats posted a 20-10 season overall, one in only seven teams last year to finish with at least 20 wins. The Lady Wildcats finished the season tied for 5th place in the 7A West conference with a 7-7 conference record. Their season last year puts the Har-Ber Lady Wildcats just where Head Coach Sandy Wright wants them to be, poised for victory. Even though the Wildcats are coming off a 20-win season, they played a style of basketball last year that really doesn’t suit this year’s team. But, this year’s Wildcats are going to return to a style that Coach Wright knows well, an offense that is built around skilled guard play and working at a fast pace. This more familiar style of play for Coach Wright is going to suit her players well. Only losing two post players from last year’s squad, the Wildcats retain a group of speedy, skilled guards that Wright thinks is going to make them one of the toughest teams to play in the 7A West. “We will be playing more man, pressing more, running more,” Wright said, “Much faster paced game from beginning to end, 32 minutes of tenacity!” In total, the Wildcats return six seniors, three juniors, and fifteen sophomores this season. Wright does admit that the Lady Wildcats are a bit “top heavy” with younger players. With such a sizeable sophomore class, the Wildcats are going to be looking to their seniors to usher in this young group setting the table for the future of Lady Wildcat basketball. But, Wright isn’t worried about her sophomores. She knows she has the type of senior leadership that it isn’t going to let her down. Leading the faster paced charge for the Wildcats this season will be senior guard, Caylee Wright. Wright is one of two starters returning from last year; she is expected to be the spark plug for this team. Wright averaged 7 points per game last season for the Wildcats. But, according to her coach (and mother), she is going to have to look to score more if Har-Ber is to be successful. “She is going to have to become more of a scorer; she is very capable but too unselfish, ”Wright

said. “Her offensive game has gotten better, and she is looking to shoot more from three.” Wildcat leadership continues with senior Morgan Stephens. “Morgan Stephens is very mature and helps take care of everyone,” Wright said. “She has improved a lot offensively, but her forte is defense. She will be a big role player for us. “ There is a lot of talent in the large sophomore class including Bailey Schalk and Paige Redmond. According to Coach Wright, Redmond has a knack for getting to the basket. And, after impressing Coach Wright during summer camps, Redmond is expected to be a big force for the varsity team. Sophomore Bailey Schalk, a 5’10 move-in this summer is described by Coach Wright as a “wing/post”. Shalk is expected to have a huge impact on the Lady Wildcats. According to Coach Wright, when it is all said and done, Shalk might just be the best player on the team. “Bailey is going to be a huge asset to our team,” Wright said. “She can run, jump, and score. And, she may end up being our leading scorer and rebounder.” But, even though Har-Ber has leadership, a talent pool, and is playing a style of basketball they are comfortable with, questions remain for the Lady Wildcats. Senior Ashley Cray was a starter last year but was sidelined for the remainder of last season with a torn ACL. “While she isn’t as mobile as she once was,” Wright says, “she is coming along nicely.” With Cray sidelined, Junior Samantha Weber got some valuable experience when she stepped in for Cray. Starting as a sophomore, Weber made an impression on her coach; Wright thinks that Weber is one of the best all-around players the Wildcats have. To be certain, there will be an adjustment period this season for the Lady Wildcats, but with the plethora of young talent and all the weapons that Coach Wright needs to run her style of offense, the Har-Ber Lady Wildcats are building a winner.

Springdale Har-Ber Lady Wildcats

Conference: 7A West Head Coach: Sandy Wright Assistant(s): Tim Aynes, Josh Tarver Athletic Director: Wayne Stehlik Principal: Dr. Danny Brackett Superintendent: Dr. Jim Rollins Last Year’s Overall Record: 20 -10 Last Year’s Conference Record: 7-7

Place in Conference: 5th State Tournament Finish: Second Round Number of Starters Lost: 3 Number of Returning Lettermen: 8 School Colors: Navy and Carolina Blue

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Van Buren

POINTERS Back To The Wild, Wild West By Marty Barnes

Van Buren Pointers Conference: 7A West Head Coach: Randy Loyd Assistant(s): Chris Bryant Athletic Director: Randy Loyd Principal: Eddie Tipton Superintendent: Dr. Merle Dickerson

Last Year’s Overall Record: 11-17 Last Year’s Conference Record: 3-11

Place in Conference: 8th State Tournament Finish: 1st Rd Number of Starters Lost: 3 Number of Returning Lettermen: 5

School Colors: Green & White

The Pointers have been missing from the 7A West for two years, but with the AAA re-alignment Van Buren returns to its “home” conference. One thing is for sure, and that is they will not miss the travel that was involved in the 7A/6A Central conference. Coach Loyd has been the head coach of the Pointers for nineteen years. This year he will enjoy being the “dean” of the West coaches (in other words, the oldest). Randy Loyd has been in coaching for thirty years and success has more or less followed him his entire career. Loyd’s reputation as a coach includes playing hard-nose physical defense stemming from a philosophy of trying to make the opponent do things they really would prefer not to do. On offense, a Loyd coached team is going to shoot a fair amount of three pointers but also attack the basket, and when they screen their opponent it will be a physical screen. Coach Loyd is assisted by one of the best assistant coaches a head coach could ask for, Chris Bryant. C o a c h Bryant is a constant student of the game and a relentless assistant when it comes to breaking down video of the Pointers or their opponents. Chris cut his teeth at the college level as a men’s student coach at Arkansas Tech University during their big winning seasons during the mid-90’s. Coach Loyd and Coach Bryant have an excellent coaching chemistry that radiates in the whole “team concept”. The Pointers will return two key returning starters in Ryan Pearson and Collin Poole. Ryan, a 5’8” junior, is a

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key cog in the wheel as he serves as the backcourt playmaker and perimeter shooter for the Pointers. Collin, a 6’5” senior, anchors the power position and has really improved his game over the last two years. Collin has a lot of weight on his shoulders in that the Pointers are not overly tall, making it necessary that he play a lot of minutes, play aggressive, and try to stay out of foul trouble. Van Buren is blessed to have three key returners who will help spread the points around and they are very versatile in their ability to play a variety of positions. The key returners are: 5’10” senior Nick Pagel, 5’8” senior Quinton Ray, and 6’ senior Colton Tucker. Not only will Coach Loyd be counting on these three seniors to score points but also help supply the needed senior leadership as the season progresses. According to Coach Loyd, he has two excellent underclassmen who will serve as key newcomers. Look for 5’10” sophomore Jason Harms to add depth at the guard position and gain valuable varsity playing time that will serve him well in the future. The other underclassman is 6’8” freshman Mitchell Smith. Coach Loyd has been around the block a few times, so you know Mitchell has a chance to be special as you see coach’s grin and the gleam in his eyes as he talks about him. Mitchell could give the Pointers some much needed height and could make a nice tandem power game with Collin Poole. Van Buren may be the best three point shooting team in the 7A West this year. They will not “do or die” from behind the arc, but it is obvious they will play to their strength. A watchful eye will see how Mitchell Smith improves as the season progresses and that would give the Pointers a very good inside game (Smith & Poole) to go with their outstanding perimeter game. Coach Loyd loves the team chemistry and the way the players play so unselfishly. If the Pointers are “on”, they can play with anybody. As one colorful TV announcer would put it, “They can shoot the rock, baby!”


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Van Buren

Lady Pointers

New Conference, But Similar Foes By Marty Barnes

Van Buren Lady Pointers Conference: 7A West Head Coach: Merrill Mankin Assistant(s): Richie Burks Athletic Director: Randy Loyd Principal: Eddie Tipton Superintendent: Dr. Merle Dickerson

Last Year’s Overall Record: 21-10 Last Year’s Conference Record: 8-6

Place in Conference: 2nd State Tournament Finish: Final Four Number of Starters Lost: 4 Number of Returning Lettermen: 2

School Colors: Green & White

The Lady Pointers are changing conferences from the 7A/6A Central conference back to their old familiar conference home, the 7A West. The 7A West is not just familiar to the team but also to Coach Merrill Mankin. The “old ball coach” has been on the bench of more 7A West games than any other girls coach in the conference. Mankin, entering his sixth season at Van Buren, spent many of his thirty-seven coaching years leading the Fort Smith Lady Rebels. The man knows how to win, and how to win the big prizes. This season gives the “old ball coach” a new wrinkle to call upon his coaching expertise, no seniors. Coach Mankin finds himself entering this season with his best player and only senior, 6’1” Page Beckner, on the sideline with an ACL injury. The Beckner injury could sideline one of the best players in the conference this year. Paige had really come into her own prior to the injury and the coaching staff is holding out some ray of hope that she may be able to return for conference play. The only other player returning with any varsity experience is 6’ junior Maria Santillana. When Coach Mankin was asked about any other newcomers who might help this year, he calmly stated,

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“We are so young and inexperienced at every position that we just do not know who they will be. The season will truly have to be the testing grounds for these young ladies, so we’ll roll the dice and see what comes up.” Opponents need to watch how much they buy into the “old ball coach” predictions. One thing is certain, he and his assistant, Richie Burks, know how to coach the fundamentals of the game and they will have the Lady Pointers more than competitive. If Paige Beckner does get to return second semester, you can bet Mankin and Burks will have a surrounding cast of players ready to climb up the 7A West conference rankings. Also, Lady Pointer opponents need to be aware of the future of this program that looks really, really good. Word has it that they have strong 8th grade and 9th grade athletic classes coming up. When asked just how good, the “old ball coach” smiled really big and said, “Pretty darn good!” With that look on his face and his experience in this game, there is no doubt what that means for the future!


BOYS TEAMS

GIRLS TEAMS

Harrison Lancaster Christian, TN Covington, TN Earle Bergman Valley Springs Coweta, OK Batesville

Harrison West Memphis Crossett Russellville Fort Smith Southside Bergman Huntsville Valley Springs

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Harrison

GOLDEN GOBLINS Explosive on Offense By Marty Barnes

Harrison Golden Goblins Conference: 5A West Head Coach: David Stahler Assistant(s): Todd Richardson

Athletic Director: Chad Harbison Principal: Bill Keaster Superintendent: Dr. Mendy Moss Last Year’s Overall Record: 16-11 Last Year’s Conference Record: 9-5

Place in Conference: 4th State Tournament Finish: 1st Round Number of Starters Lost: 3 Number of Returning Lettermen: 14 School Colors: Blue & Gold

Photos courtesy Kyle Troutman at the Daily Citizen

Coach David Stahler welcomes back a bulk of his scorers from last year’s 16-11 team. The points that are returning can score a bunch in a hurry when they are hot. Stahler thinks this team has the capability to spread the points around more as the team seems to have some depth at each position. The three point arc also favors this team with several players who are more than capable of knocking down three’s. Coach Stahler returns for his tenth year at his alma mater. Those who remember David in his playing days at Harrison also understand why his teams now are always very good shooters and scorers. Coach Stahler was a great outside shooter in his day but unfortunately for him, he played during a time when there was no three point arc. If David had played with the three point arc, he would have completely rewritten some school scoring records. Assisting Coach Stahler again this year is Todd Richardson. Todd has the task of taking the Goblins’ offensive mindset and converting that same mindset to the defensive end. According to Stahler, one would be hard pressed to find an assistant that is more dedicated to his job as Coach Richardson. The two returning starters are 6’2” guard Alex Rose and 6’7” power player Jackson Doshier. Both returning starters are seniors and they will be relied on heavily for their floor leadership. Rose has started since his sophomore year when he averaged 14 ppg. Last season, the two time all conference selection picked up his

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scoring average to 22 ppg and 4 assists per game. Alex has nearly unlimited range when he is “on”. Stahler is banking on Alex’s teammates to be able to take some scoring pressure off the all state guard and force opponents not to key so much on #22. Jackson Doshier is coming off a good junior season that really saw him improve as the season progressed. Jackson scored 9.5 ppg and 5 rebounds per game from the power positions. Coach Stahler has been impressed with Doshier’s improvement over the summer and through the fall workouts. Look for Jackson to pick up where he left off last season and just keep on improving. Coach Stahler has three main returning players who will be counted on heavily and also fill out the starting line-up. Jordan Grant was averaging 9 ppg before going down with an injury and is being counted on heavily to increase that average this season. Carsen Jenkins, 6’5” junior, gives the Goblins not only height but also a scorer who can put up points either as a perimeter player or as a power player. 6’2” Jacob Clary could best be


described as the top defender on the team. He doesn’t mind the physical play as a defender and approaches the game with a cerebral attitude. One of the biggest keys to this year’s success will be the team leadership. Nine seniors make up the chemistry of this Goblin team. These seniors know each other, have put in the time needed for this team to be successful, and have high expectations on how they want to go out as seniors. Another key to success could be the scoring ability of this team. This year’s team has a lot of capable scorers that can put up the points. A question will be whether they can match their offensive intensity/skills to the defensive end. Most coaches will tell you that offense can win games but defense wins championships. This year’s 5A West has had a shake up as the AAA has re-aligned some of the teams that will make up the conference. Gone is Siloam Springs and Greenwood since the new alignment sent those schools to 7A/6A conferences. Shiloh Christian moves up in classification as does perennial 4A powerhouse Clarksville. The 5A West Conference has traditionally been one of the toughest in the state and this year will be no different. Clarksville, Alma, Morrilton, and Harrison seem to be the top four teams, but Shiloh brings to the table one of the best players in the state in 6’7” Darian Harris. Do not count out Vilonia or Huntsville either. Both teams struggled last year, but both have a lot of returning players. Coach Stahler is aware that his Goblins will have to be up for every opponent and bring their ‘A’ game at both ends of the court.

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Harrison

Lady Goblins

Tall, Young, and Talented By Marty Barnes

Harrison Lady Goblins Conference: 5A West Head Coach: Doug Young Assistant(s): Doug Cox

Athletic Director: Chris Platt Chad Harbison Principal: Bill Keaster Superintendent: Dr. Mendy Moss

Last Year’s Overall Record: 10-16 Last Year’s Conference Record: 6-8

Place in Conference: 5th State Tournament Finish: N/A Number of Starters Lost: 4 Number of Returning Lettermen: 4

School Colors: Blue & Gold

Take a look at the Lady Goblins’ depth chart and one glaring fact stands out immediately; they are very, very young! Coach Young’s top eight players on the depth chart are three juniors and five sophomores. Ask him how concerned he is with that much inexperience and he provides you with a positive response. “Yes, we are young, but we have great chemistry and outstanding work ethic to offset any negative aspects.” One other fact that stands out immediately is the overall height of the team. Seven of the top eight players are 5’8” or taller and they all seem able to play a variety of positions. The Lady Goblins will return three starters from last season’s 1016 record. Leading the way is 5’10” sophomore Taylor Tate who scored 10 ppg as a freshman starter on the varsity squad. Taylor’s opponents describe her as an outstanding shooter with the ability to create off the dribble or take you inside like a power player.

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Emily Poynor is a 6’ junior forward that not only adds height to the line-up but is also very athletic. Another returning athletic junior starter is 5’9” Cara Basrett. Opponents are very concerned with the athleticism and length/height of these three returning starters. Junior Mary Colliver rounds out the key returning players. Mary follows the mold of the other returnees in that she is tall, 5’9”, and shows the ability to play a couple of positions. Since the Lady Goblins are so young, Coach Young lists five sophomores as key newcomers to this year’s varsity team. The ‘Fab Five’ sophomores are: 5’10” Karleigh Akers, 5’8” Kristi Patterson, 5’5” Tiffany Brisco, and 5’8” Sydnee Allgeies. These five may be inexperienced, but Coach Young is confident in their ability to contribute at the varsity level. Many coaches with an inexperienced team would have a tendency to soften up the schedule, but Coach Young feels his young


team needs to taste the competition early and let those experiences carry over in preparation for conference play. The Lady Goblins jump right into the fire by playing one of the best Missouri traditional powers, Nixa High School. Also on the nonconference schedule is the always competitive Lendel Thomas Basketball Classic hosted by Magness Toyota at Harrison High School. After Christmas comes the tough 5A West conference games. As always, there is a lot of competitive parity within this conference. Coach Young and the other conference coaches are giving an edge to Huntsville and Vilonia to be the frontrunners. Also, the coaches in the league are concerned about Morrilton’s athleticism and have tabbed them as the darkhorse team. Coach Young is convinced that this season’s youth is going to be offset by the team’s chemistry. As with all young teams, there will be improvement as the season progresses. Coach Young likes this team’s work ethic and their resolution to serve notice that the Lady Goblins’ tradition is back.

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Mountain Home

Lady Bombers

Returnees and Schedule Will Have Lady Bombers Ready By Marty Barnes

Mt. Home Lady Bombers Conference: 7A/6A East Head Coach: Dell Leonard Assistant(s): Lindsey Leonard

Athletic Director: Janet Wood Principal: Dana Brown Superintendent: Dr. Lonnie Myers Last Year’s Overall Record: 13-16 Last Year’s Conference Record: 6-8

Place in Conference: 5th State Tournament Finish: Elite 8 Number of Starters Lost: 3 Number of Returning Lettermen: 5

School Colors: Blue & Gold

Photos courtesy Kyle Troutman at the Daily Citizen

The Lady Bombers have the height, experience, and scoring ability that make them a formidable opponent. They will need all of that and more as they play in arguably the toughest girls conference in the state, 7A/6A East. Coach Dell Leonard is very aware of the reputation of the 7A/6A East conference, but he has a very good feeling about this Lady Bomber team. The tradition of the Lady Bombers runs deep as they have been to the state tournament thirtyone of the last thirty-two years! Dell Leonard knows what it takes to win at Mountain Home. He has been the head coach of the Lady Bombers the past seventeen years. In those seventeen years, he has established a reputation around the state that his teams will be well prepared and always in the game. His discipline and organizational skills are indicative of his ten years of service in the Marine Corps. Coach Dell’s assistant is his wife, Lindsey, which adds to the “family” chemistry felt around the locker room. The three returning starters are really solid athletes. 5’ 11” senior Katie Kapler keys the Lady Bomber attack. Katie has a truly unbelievable statistic in that she has averaged a double-double (double digit points and rebounds) since she started on the varsity as a freshman! Katie has truly had a magnificent high school career,

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but the best could be yet to come. According to Coach Leonard, the answer is definitely “Yes.” Katie had a great summer and has reported in the best shape of her career to date. Joining Kapler as a returning starter is 5’ 10” senior Patricia Foreman. Patricia brings a work ethic second to none and gives Coach Leonard an option to go with a big line-up by moving her to a guard position. Taylor Williams, a 5’ 10” senior, adds an offensive punch with Foreman that does not allow opponents to key solely on Kapler. The key returning lettermen are 5’ 7” junior Tanya Jones and Coach Leonard’s daughter, 5’ 6” Briana Leonard. Jones is known for her athleticism and could quite possibly be the best defender on the team. Briana brings that “gym rat” mentality of a coach’s kid along with her ability to be a great shooter. The sophomore class appears to be talented enough to have four athletes that Coach Leonard thinks will see playing time and provide needed depth to allow the Lady Bombers to play their style of basketball. Look for these four sophomores to be keys by providing the needed depth: 5’ 11” Katie Dunn, 5’ 6” Kaytlin Jones, 5’ 9” Breelyn Arms, and 5’ 6” Sydney Blevins. As previously mentioned, the 7A/6A East Conference is loaded again. The Lady Bombers have been picked fourth in the


conference in the pre-season polls behind North Little Rock, Little Rock Central, and Cabot. Coach Leonard knows his team will have to make some key improvements from last year, such as consistency and limiting turnovers. To get ready for the tough conference schedule, Coach Leonard has put together a “who’s who” of girls basketball teams to play in the Mountain Home after-Christmas tournament. This tournament

could arguably be the best girls tournament in the state this year. The impressive list of participating schools includes Mountain Home, Paragould, Fayetteville, Greenwood, Rogers, Sheridan, Pulaski Academy, and North Little Rock. WOW! Coach Leonard knows this tournament will provide his team the necessary preparation for conference play and the state tournament in March.

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1st Arkansas Bail Bonds December 27-29, 2012

Girls Tournament Bracket Game 1   10:00  am   Thurs.,  27th  

 

Game 10   11:30  am   Fri.,  28th                

Game 14   5:30  pm   Fri.,  28th    

         

Game  5   4:00  pm   Thurs.,  27th  

Game 2  0   1:30  pm   Sat.,  29th    

Game 7   7:00  pm   Thurs.,  27th    

 

Game 12   2:30  pm   Fri.,  28th    

Loser Game  10   Game  18   10:30  am   Sat.,  29th     Loser  Game  12  

 

Game 3   1:00  pm   Thurs.,  27th    

Game 24   7:30  pm   Sat.,  29th        

Game 16   8:30  pm   Fri.,  28th    

Loser Game  14   Game  22     4:30  pm   Sat.,  29th     Loser  Game  16  

 

 

Boys Tournament Bracket  

Game 2   11:30  am   Thurs.,  27th  

Game 9   10:00  am   Fri.,  28th                

Game 13   4:00  pm   Fri.,  28th    

 

Game 11   1:00  pm   Fri.,  28th    

Game 6   5:30  pm   Thurs.,  27th    

Game 8   8:30  pm   Thurs.,  27th    

Loser Game  9   Game  17     9:00  am     Sat.,  29th       Game   11   Pg. 54 • AR Sports NWA WinterLoser   Edition 2012 www.arsports.net

Pg. 54

         

Game  4   2:30  pm   Thurs.,  27th  

Game 1  9   12:00  pm   Sat.,  29th    

 

Game 23   6:00  pm   Sat.,  29th        

Game 15   7:00  pm   Fri.,  28th    

Loser Game  13   Game  21     3:00  pm   Sat.,  29th     Loser  Game  15  

 


Mountain Home

BOMBERS Bombers Must Prepare for Tough Conference Play By Marty Barnes Coach Mitch Huskey knows he has his work cut out for him this year. Not only does Mountain Home play in one of the toughest conferences in the state, but the Bombers enter this season with only two players with any varsity experience. The Bombers’ top seven players are made up of three seniors and four sophomores. An obvious missing statistic in the roster is that there are currently no juniors listed in the top ten players. The two returning starters not only must have big shoulders to carry the load of leadership, but they have to be able to shoulder much of the scoring. Jack Schmitt, 6’7” senior, returns to lead the Bombers since he averaged 14 ppg and 8 rebounds per game last year. Schmitt is a very versatile big man who can step out on the perimeter to score or use his height in the power positions. His versatility will be put to the test this year not only for his need to score but he is the only player on the roster with much height. The other returning starter is 5’9” senior guard Buck Gilbert. Just like Schmitt, Gilbert needs to have a very good senior year and set the tone in the back court for his inexperienced teammates. Buck averaged 5 ppg and 6 assists per game last season. The key newcomers for this season’s Bombers are made up of one senior and four sophomores. Tyler Parnell is a 6’1” senior two-guard that will need to have a big come-out year. As a senior two-guard he will need to Photos courtesy Kyle Troutman at the So far, shoulder his share of the points.

four sophomores make up the rest of the players that Coach Huskey sees as potential varsity athletes this year. The sophomores are: 6’2” Skylar Culver, 5’8” Preston Groesbeck, 6’2” Collin Oxford, and 6’ Blake McKee. True, the sophomores are untested, but they have a golden opportunity this year to get valuable varsity experience and play key roles in the Bombers’ attack. Coach Huskey knows he has to be patient in that he is coaching an inexperienced team. He also knows that for the program to grow for the future the younger players must have time to develop. Huskey has planned his non-conference schedule to test his young team, but perhaps more importantly is his strategy to play teams that have similar type athletes as the Bombers will face in January and February. The Bombers are given praise by their coach for having great team chemistry and for showing they are willing to work at all cost. Huskey has also been impressed with the team’s tolerance of longer practices in order to understand the Bomber system and master the much needed fundamentals that are required to play at the 7A/6A level. Look for the Bombers to take the season’s approach of “step by step, brick by brick” philosophy as they progress through this year’s schedule.

Mt. Home Bombers

Conference: 7A/6A East Head Coach: Mitch Huskey Assistant(s): Jonathan Bullington Athletic Director: Janet Wood Principal: Dana Brown Superintendent: Dr. Lonnie Myers Last Year’s Overall Record: 11-17 Last Year’s Conference Record: 2-12

Place in Conference: 7th State Tournament Finish: 1st Round Number of Starters Lost: 3 Number of Returning Lettermen: 2

School Colors: Blue & Gold

Daily Citizen

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Shiloh Christian

SAINTS Stepping Up By Harrison Stanfill

Shiloh Christian Saints Conference: 5A West Head Coach: Brent Hester Assistant(s): Scott Harris, Austin Tucker Athletic Director: Josh Floyd Principal: Greg Jones Superintendent: Ben Mayes Last Year’s Overall Record: 18-10 Last Year’s Conference Record: 13-1

Place in Conference: 1st State Tournament Finish: Number of Starters Lost: 2 Number of Returning Lettermen: 6 School Colors: Navy Blue and Vegas Gold

Last season, the Shiloh Christian Saints finished one of the best seasons in their program’s history. The Saints finished with an 18-10 season record and a 13-1 conference record. After finishing their last season in the 4A with a conference championship, the Saints are moving up to 5A and are standing in a prime position to stake their claim as one of the top contenders in their new conference. For this new conference season, the Saints return three starters experienced and ready to write a new winning record in the 5A. Head Coach, Brent Hester is excited about this year’s squad. And, when you look at what Coach Hester has to work with, you know why he is. “We have good chemistry,” Hester said. “We also

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return a lot of experience from a team that won a conference championship last year.” One of the returning starters, Senior swingman Darian Harris, is going to play a big role in the Shiloh game plan. Harris is a 6’6 unique player with size, speed, and the ability to play both offense and defense at a highest level. Averaging 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists per game last season, Harris lead the Saints to a conference championship. Harris is a well-rounded basketball player drawing attention from Division I schools; he is expected to sign his letter of intent to play at Creighton University, joining the long line of gifted Blue Jay basketball players. “On the court he is a gym rat and that bleeds over to the other players,” Hester said. “He understands basketball and our


concepts so he is like having a coach on the floor.” But Shiloh is more than just a one-man show. They will return several veteran players who have experience and the ability to play at a high level of intensity. Ryder Anderson, a senior guard, returns to give the Saints an experienced player who has quality minutes in big games scoring points. Anderson is a big, athletic guard who stands 6’2 and averaged 8 points per game last season. Look for Anderson’s growing impact on the Saints this year as he and Harris are going to assume control of the team while leading a group of younger players in the right direction. And, the Saints plan on playing a lot of guys this year; to Coach Hester that means playing a lot of younger guys. He is not looking for the next Darian Harris or Ryder Anderson right now, he just wants the younger guys to go out, play hard, and do their job. “We are going to have to play a lot

of guys this year, when you do that, then, you always have to play young kids,” Hester said. “We have some young talent, but all we need from them is to play a role. Get in, play hard, play smart, and get some guys some rest.” Moving up to a higher conference level is usually

a challenge, but the Saints seem to be in a great position. They have big time talent with experienced playing time; and, that is going to help them in this tougher league. With their winning pedigree and experience, Shiloh joins this level of league play not as an unknown, but rather a

well-known. With Greenwood and Siloam Springs both moving on to a higher level in conference play, the Saints are entering the 5A with the attention of the conference on them. When you boast one of the best players in the state, and you are coming off of a conference championship, you are not going to sneak up on anybody. Everyone will be on guard; that is Shiloh’s position. “There is always an adjustment when you move up in classification,” Hester said. “The major difference being that you have to play very well to win every night.” So that means, the Saints will be stepping up this season. With the eyes of the 5A are on them, the Saints will have a new challenge, new opponents, and a new style. But, Shiloh has an experienced team and a legacy of winning ball games.

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Shiloh Christian

Lady Saints

New Faces, New Places By Harrison Stanfill

Shiloh Christian Lady Saints Conference: 5A West Head Coach: Mat Stewart Assistant(s): Steven Wilkins Athletic Director: Josh Floyd Principal: Greg Jones Superintendent: Ben Mayes Last Year’s Overall Record: 20-11 Last Year’s Conference Record: 10-4

Place in Conference: 3rd State Tournament Finish: Top 16 Number of Starters Lost: 5 Number of Returning Lettermen: 4 School Colors: Navy Blue and Vegas Gold

It is hard to replace five starters in any sport; it is especially difficult in basketball. But, that is exactly the situation in which second-year, Shiloh Christian Head Coach, Mat Stewart finds himself. The Lady Saints, just two years removed from a 4A State Title, are looking to replace all five starters from last year’s team which finished in the Top 16 in the State Finals. This is a challenge Coach Stewart is ready to face. Mat Stewart, second year with Shiloh Christian, is in his 16th season overall coaching basketball. Shiloh Christian understands what kind of coach they have in Stewart. Stewart spent five years coaching at Marshall High School where he accumulated a 117-39 record. His tenure there included two State Championships (2007 and 2008) where his Marshall Bobcats beat out Shiloh Christian both years along the way. In 2007 Marshall beat Shiloh Christian in the championship game. His experience and winning pedigree are going to be major keys in leading Shiloh to success this season. Challenges are something with which Stewart and Shiloh are accustomed. After six consecutive State Tournament appearances, Shiloh is looking to solidify their position in a new classification and conference. While bringing a new game on the court, the Lady Saints will be introduced to a new game in the 5A West. Since this is the year that Shiloh makes the jump from the 4A to the 5A, some growing pains are to be expected. Along with being in the same conference as Vilonia, a team that hasn’t lost more than nine games in a season for the past six years, Shiloh is going to have to get used to the travel that comes from playing in the 5A West. Road trips to Clarksville, Vilonia, Harrison, Alma, and Greenbriar are all part of season play. Extra travel is not the only challenge that faces Coach Stewart and his Lady Saints this season. Only four letterman return this season: lone senior, Claire Taylor, junior forward, Cayden Sears, and junior guards, Lauren Roth and Callie Harris. With such a young team, leadership is going to be at a premium for Coach Stewart has he ushers his team into a new era of Shiloh Christian Lady Saints basketball. “I am looking for leadership.” Stewart said. “And right now, Claire Taylor and Callie Harris have provided that.”

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Claire Taylor, the only senior on the Lady Saints team will be looked upon to make a big impact for Shiloh Christian on and off the court. For Coach Stewart, it doesn’t matter about youth or inexperience, he expects his team to play “hungry and extremely hard.” A young and energetic team, Shiloh is going to want to run an uptempo style of basketball. According to Coach Stewart, there is going to have to be a balancing act. The possession-based offense is needed to take the pressure off of the inexperience of the team. “We’re going to run when we can,” Stewart said, “but if the break isn’t there, we want to keep possession and pound it inside to Richelle Cooper, and let our offense work through her.” Richelle Cooper is a 6 foot, 3 inch sophomore expected to have a major impact for the Saints on the floor this season. Because of her size, Cooper has a lot of promise, but once again, with promise comes questions. “She’s young and we’re asking a lot of her this year,” Stewart says. Being new to the team and to Stewart, Stewart looks forward to watching Cooper improve. “I’ve never had a lot of size in the post as a head coach,” Stewart said. “So it’s nice to be able to work with her and watch her improve each week.” And, being only a sophomore means that Cooper doesn’t have a lot of varsity level experience, but Richelle will be tasked with keeping possession and having the offense run through her when the Saints need points. “Richelle gives us that automatic, “go-to’ if we’re struggling to score,” Stewart said. “And, she also provides that shot-blocking capability if our perimeter defense breaks down.” Shiloh is faced this year with an uncertain season; inexperience throughout this youthful Saints team is going to provide a lot of ups and downs. The Lady Saints come from a rich history of success on the basketball court. This legacy of success comes with expectations. The promise of the Lady Saints is going to be fun to watch this season. But, the emphasis isn’t strictly on the promise of this season; it is about building the promise of a long future-in a new conference, with new faces, and new places.


Huntsville

Lady Eagles Experience To Win By Harrison Stanfill

The Huntsville Lady Eagles learned a lot last season. Huntsville went 12-15, finishing fourth place in the 5A conference. But, they enter this season with an experienced team-full of seniors that Head Coach Charles Berry is ready to do battle with. “Experience is one of the keys to having a successful year,” Berry said. “We have been to war, and hopefully this will benefit us through a very tough conference schedule.” Coach Berry has a veteran team this season that is ready to make strides in the 5A West. The Lady Eagles return four lettermen including three seniors that have all played significant minutes for Huntsville. Senior guard, Sydney Striplin is the returning starter at guard averaging seven points per game for the Eagles last year. Senior, Miranda Dubberly is one of two returning forwards for Huntsville. Last season, Dubberly averaged 6.5 points per game. Dubberly is expected to see her opportunities increase, as she will take on a larger role this season. Sharing the load will be junior forward, Vanessa Burgess, who averaged five points per game last season as a sophomore. Berry knows that he definitely holds the advantage with such an experienced team; he certainly doesn’t take that for granted. One of the key factors for Huntsville’s anticipated success is going to be the play from their 6’1 senior post, Rose Robinson. Robinson is the leading, returning scorer, averaging 13.5 points per game last season for the Lady Eagles. According to Berry, Robinson is a next-level talent, and he knows if his team is going to be successful, then Robinson is going to have to play a big part in that success. “She is a good scorer who loves to play the game,” Berry said. “My expectation

is that she will be one of the best players in the league.” Even though Rose Robinson is a major part of the Huntsville offensive game plan, if the Eagles are going to win games this year, the offense is not going to do all the work on its own. The Eagles have to have a team that is defensive minded. Coach Berry expects his experienced team to be strong defensively, which will help them out on the offensive side. “Our defense will definitely help our offense,” Berry said. “We try to pressure and get turnovers that will turn into easy points on offense.” Last year the Lady Eagles scored 47 points per game on offense while only allowing 43 points per game on defense. Berry wants the same defensive intensity to continue for Huntsville this year. That is what made them successful in the past, and that is what is going to lead them to success this year. The 5A West has gone through some changes this past year. Shiloh Christian joined the already tough league that featured teams such as the always-solid, Vilonia and the muchimproved Harrison. But, with the perennial powers of Greenwood and Siloam Springs moving up to higher divisions, the Huntsville Lady Eagles are in a prime position to make a move challenging others for the top spot in the 5A West. Like all experienced teams the Eagles are going to play solid defense, take their opportunities on offense, make few mistakes, and capitalize when other teams make mistakes. But, Berry is banking that experience leads to wins. And, if the Eagles play like the experienced team they are, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Huntsville Lady Eagles Conference: 5A Head Coach: Charles Berry Assistant(s): Greg McCone, Christi Sone

Athletic Director: Ken Harriman Principal: Lewis Villines Superintendent: Dr. Robert Allen Last Year’s Overall Record:12-15 Last Year’s Conference Record: 7-7

Place in Conference: 4th State Tournament Finish: 4th Number of Starters Lost: 3 Number of Returning Lettermen: 4 School Colors: Maroon and White

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BOYS

4A WEST 4A Wild Wild West By Harrison Stanfill The 4A West looks more like the Wild, Wild West this season. With the reigning conference champions, Shiloh Christian moving up to 5A, the door is wide open for any team to make a run at the title. The 4A is going to be a hotly contested basketball conference this season as most teams in the league return with experience. Dominating last year’s second and third place conference spots respectively, Gravette and Pea Ridge look to battle it out this season to see who will claim the number one conference spot. Both schools return the majority of their winning teams from last year. But according to their coaches, the majority of teams return a lot of experience making the 4A one of the deepest leagues in the state. Gravette Head Coach Dustin Peters returns four of last year’s starters who were responsible for their 2210 record, finishing second place in the conference. Peters has the Tigers going in the right direction; what the Tigers lack in size, they make up for in experience and athleticism. “We are small, but we shoot well and are athletic,” Peters said. “And team defense is our strength.” This year could be the year that the Tigers bring the conference title home. Three Gravette All-Conference players including 6’2 swingman Terence Pierce averaging 18 points per game in the regular season are among the returning

starters. But, like all great players, this junior really turned his game up another level. During tournament time, Pierce averaged 25 points per game leading the Tigers to the Quarterfinals and earning himself AllTournament Team honors. Gravette Point Guard Matt VanOtterloo returns this season hoping to build on last season in which he earned All-State honors averaging 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 steals, and 4 assists per game. All-Conference seniors Carson Pollreis and Cody Nims are back on board this season for the Tigers. The 6’1 Pollreis averaged 5.5 rebounds and 9.2 points per game last season; Coach Peters expects to see those numbers increase. But the biggest presence on the Gravette Tigers team is junior center, Otto Troutner standing a towering 6’5 is one of the biggest players in the conference. Troutner is expected to bring a physical presence inside and an all-around toughness to the Tiger team while they go through a grueling schedule. The Pea Ridge Blackhawks want a stake of the 4A Title claim. Head Coach Charley Clark has them in prime position to make a run for the title this season. “Our chemistry is solid,” Clark said. This chemistry is going to help the Blackhawks navigate a tough season schedule. Helping their title chances, the Blackhawks return three starters from last year’s squad including their leading scorer, Jacob Hall. The 6’1 senior

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averaged 16 points per game last season and is primed for another breakout year. Clark likes his Blackhawks’ chances this season. They return a lot of size and experience from a team that went 9-5 in the conference last season, finishing third place. With seven players standing 6’0 or taller, the Blackhawks are one of the tallest teams in the conference. Returning senior starters, Issac Mangrum and Camron Tidwell, 6’5 and 6’4 respectively are going to be leaned on this year. “We have pretty good size and return a lot of experience,” Clark said. Gravette and Pea Ridge played twice last year; both teams won at home with only a 3 point combined spread from both games. This battle for the top spot sure promises to bring excitement to the 4A-1 Conference. After going 0-14 two years ago, the Berryville Bobcats bounced back last season in a big way. The Bobcats went 13-9, proving that they should be a challenger to Pea Ridge and Gravette as they duke it out for the top spot. Head Coach Brent Compton returns most of his scoring from last season including his top two scorers. The Bobcats return All-State guard, Donnie Hoppe who was instrumental in their run during the regional tournament also garnering spots on the All-Conference and All-State Tournament Team, comes back to lead the Bobcats this season. Hoppe, averaging 13.5 points and 5 assists per game, along with junior guard, Austin Carr, averaging12 points and 4 assists per game, are primed to help the Bobcats make some noise in the 4A-1.

The Farmington Cardinals are coming off of a rebuilding year last year. The Cardinals only lost one starter but the starters from this year squad are all seniors, including ballhandlers Jimmy Hollingsworth and Josh Mueller. Farmington lost 10 games last season by single digit margins and are ready to prove that they can take the next step. Head Coach Beau Thompson thinks that his team is ready to make that next step they just have to find ways to win those onepossession games. The Cardinals return The Gentry Pioneers are looking to rebuild from last season. Returning only one starter from last season, junior forward Dusty Haag, the Pioneers are young, but Coach Sean Price believes that his team is going to improve every night; they are building a strong foundation for the future. “We have a pretty high IQ of the overall game of basketball,” Price said. “We are young, but I look for us to compete every night.” So don’t make the mistake of underestimating the Pioneers as they look to start anew and make their mark this season. The 4A West is wide open with multiple teams having a shot at taking home the conference title. Powered behind star players and plenty of young upstart teams the 4A-1 is going to be one of the most entertaining conferences in the state of Arkansas.

3

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Girls

4A WEST Prairie Grove and the Rest of the 4A West By Harrison Stanfill After winning three straight conference championships, it seems like, for at least the past three seasons, the 4A West has been tuned in to “The Prairie Grove Show”. But, things change and it seems like the rest of the 4A West has finally caught up to the Tigers and are ready to prove that Prairie Grove’s time at the top might be running out. Prairie Grove went 28-2 last year finishing in first place in the conference with a perfect 14-0 record and 20-game winning streak. The Tigers return three starters from that team, including senior Justyne Huber. “I think we have the best player in the conference,” Head Coach Kevin Froud said about Huber. And taking one look at her stats, you can see why he is excited. Huber averaged 18 points and 6 rebounds per game last season including a 36 point scoring onslaught against Ozark. The Tigers are strong offensively, averaging 54 points per game last season, but where they excelled was the defensives side of the ball. Last season, Prairie Grove only gave up 38 points per game which was the best record in the conference. But even though the Tigers return the best player in the conference, according to Coach Froud, their lack of depth could be a problem. With only three seniors and three juniors returning to the team, they are going to be thin this season. To compound the depth problem, Prairie Grove doesn’t have a lot of size either. Huber is their tallest player standing at 6’0. But even though the Tigers are undersized, you can’t ignore the winning pedigree and the

experience that they bring to the 4A West. They are the champions, and until further notice, Couch Froud and his team want it to stay that way. But, one of those challengers to the Prairie Grove dynasty is the Farmington Cardinals. The Cardinals are coming off of a year in which they made it to the State Championship game. They return three starters from last year’s squad that went 12-2 in conference play, finishing in second place. Tiffany Rhame is one of those returning starters. Rhame, a senior, has started 63 games at point guard in her career and has averaged 7.5 points and 5 assists per game last season. Head Coach Brad Johnson loves where his team is at this point in the season; they have great team chemistry and his players that know what it is like to play in big time games. The Gentry Pioneers have set high goals for this season. They look to be an upstart this season that could challenge their competition for the 4A West title. While the Pioneers didn’t get the results they would have liked in the win column last year, they did see an improvement in the level of play. They are returning several players from last year’s squad. Head Coach Timothy Rippy believes he has a top three conference finish in his future. And, with the addition of some newcomers to the Pioneer team, he may have his wish come true. Newcomers, seniors Heather Marshall, 6’4 center, and Ashton King, 5’10 center, moved to Gen-

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try over the summer. Coach Rippy believes this new blood will give the Pioneers some much-needed size. And nothing makes Coach Rippy happier. “The thing we really lacked last year was size.” Rippy said, “With the additions of Heather Marshall and Ashton King, we now have size and will not be at a disadvantage defensively. “ One of the biggest impacts that Marshall and King will have on the Pioneers is defense. On the defensive end, Gentry hopes to improve on the 53 points per game they allowed last season. “Our bigger, stronger guards can now guard opponent’s perimeter players instead of being matched up with post players. “ Rippy said. The Pioneers return four starters from last year’s team, three of which are seniors, Destiny Thomas, Tara Arnold, and Shelby Hammond. The Gravette Lions have a lot to be excited about this season. They return a core group of players including senior post player, Destaney Wishon. Wishon, 5’10, averaging 11.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game last season, has improved her offensive game over the summer. Alongside Wishon in the post will be senior forward, Monica White. White, 6’2 and averaging 2.1 blocks and 6.3 points per game last season, has become a much more well-rounded basketball player. The Lions have a veteran team this season with five returning seniors who have earned the trust of their coach and are ready to build on a strong legacy of Gravette Lady Lion basketball. The Lions expect to be improved in all facets of the game this year and are going to be a team to lookout for in the 4A. The Pea Ridge Blackhawks are entering into this season with questions. They lost four starters from last year’s squad and enter this season with no seniors; this lack of senior leadership makes them one of the youngest teams in the league. The upside for Coach Heather Wade is that she returns several younger players who have valuable experience gained in last season’s play. Returning starter, Savannah Cypert is expected to lead a group of juniors who cut their teeth playing last season as sophomores. According to Coach Wade, the Blackhawks are going to rely on the fact that even though they are young, they have had experience playing in the league, are going to shoot the ball well, and have lots of scoring options to go to. There may be many questions about these Lady Blackhawks, but Coach Wade seems to think her team has the answers.

Wolves are going to be on the lookout for every team. After a move up from 3A where they finished fourth last season, this is the Wolves first year in the 4A-1. Lincoln returns three starters from last year’s squad including senior forward, Nikki Thordson. Thordson has the ability to do it all for the Lady Wolves; she averaged 7 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 4 steals per game last season. But, Thordson doesn’t have to do it all by herself, Lincoln also returns leading scorer, Haley Sugg. Sugg, a junior post player averaging 12 points and 8 rebounds per game, is the motor that makes the Lincoln Lady Wolves run. Will this be the year these Lady Wolves lead the pack? In the past years, the 4A West has meant one thing, Prairie Grove. But this year, the talent in the conference runs deep. There are more teams than ever, ready to challenge the Tigers for the top spot in this league. This is going to be an exciting year of basketball in the 4A.

Bank of Gravett

For Head Coach Deon Birkes, the Lincoln Lady

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BOYS

3A WEST West Fork Wants to Stay On Top By Harrison Stanfill Ever since joining the 3A West, West Fork has not finished with anything outside of the Top 2 in this conference. The tigers want that trend to continue this season; and, they stand ready to prove they can do it. The Tigers return three starters, all of whom are seniors from a team that went 26-8 overall and 7-3 in conference play last season. Seniors Josh Ferrell, Leon Beasley, and Rob Wingate all return to make their case for why the Tigers should be the most feared team in the 3A. Ferrell is returning as the leading scorer averaging 12 points per game and knocking down a combined 91 three pointers last season alone. But, Ferrell he is more than just a scoring threat. He also had 140 assists and 127 steals making him an all-around lethal weapon. Wingate, a 6’6 force down low fought for over 100 rebounds and 15 blocks last year. Beasley, a swingman averaging 6.7 points per game last season helped round out this fighting team. Returning senior, Trusten DeSoto is expected to have an impact this season. Last year, DeSoto averaged 2.7 points per game and wrangled over 100 rebounds out of the opponents’ hands for the Tigers. DeSoto’s impact on the game is expected to grow. Along with being one of the most experienced teams in the 3A, the Tigers also have the market cornered on size. Center Rob Wingate stands at 6’6 with power forward, Trusten DeSoto. Junior power forward Zach Hutchison stands at 6’5; it is expected that Hutchinson will see an increase in his playing time this season. Head Coach David Ferrell’s connection with this group of seniors goes deeper than most coaches. Coach Ferrell has been coaching this group since they were in the third grade. With that kind of personal coaching and hours spent in the gym together from such an early age, team chemistry is not going to be a problem for the West Fork Tigers. This group of

seniors played minutes in the State Championship game as sophomores and in state qualifying matches as juniors. From their sophomore year, these seniors have won seven tournaments as a team. With this much team promise and history, repeating bids for the top this season looks like a foregone conclusion. The Green Forest Tigers didn’t see the success they wanted to last year. But with several returning players experienced after last season, Green Forest basketball is on the rise. The Tigers return junior starting forward, Daulton Coffey. At 6’3, Coffey brings size to Green Forest; he is expected to have a major impact on the floor along with his teammates, returning starters Jordyn Mullens and Michael Campbell. The Greenland Pirates lost all five starters from last year’s squad that ended the year 14-16. But, the Pirates return many players who have what it takes to make their mark on the 3A. Head Coach Jared Gobel believes it is only a matter of time for this young team. The Pirates welcome back seniors, Tylor McClanahan and Evan Johnson this season. Both athletes are going to be leaned on heavily as they hold the most experience on the team. Flippin has seen a lot of improvement over the last few seasons, ultimately culminating to a 28-10 record last year. Flippin’s team finished 3rd in the conference last season. This season, they return senior guard Marcus Ragsdale. Ragsdale averaged 8 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals per game last season. Even though Flippin is replacing four starters from last season, the team has talent and depth on its side. That combination will help Flippin Basketball keep moving in the right direction.

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Girls

3A WEST The 3A Proves Its Worth By Harrison Stanfill Last season the 3A West produced three of the best girls basketball teams in the state of Arkansas last season. The West Fork Lady Tigers, Greenland Lady Pirates, and the Green Forest Lady Tigers. These three finished in the top 5 last season with Green Forest finishing third, West Fork finishing fourth and the Greenland Lady Pirates finishing first and winning the 3A State Championship.

Things shouldn’t change this season either.

The Greenland Lady Pirates completed a magical season last year. The Pirates went 22-5 last season as they went on to win the State Championship. This season looks just as promising for the Pirates as Head Coach Alan Barton has created a winning program at Greenland. Greenland lost all five starters from last year’s squad but Barton has players that are ready to step in and prove that the Pirates have what it takes to stay at the top of the league. The Pirates return 3 point specialist Morgan Miller. The Senior averaged 8.2 points per game last season and has experience playing in the state tournament as she knocked down seven 3’s in the first round of the tournament. The Green Forest Tigers turned in a 15-7 record last year on their way to a third place finish in conference and a state runner up finish. The Tigers return a lot of good guard play this year including the Powell twins. Kadee and Kaitlin are returning for their senior season at Green Forest and give the Tigers one of the most experienced backcourts in the conference. Kaitlin averaged 11 points last season to go with 3 rebounds per game while Kadee averaged 8 points 4

assits per game. The strongest part of Green Forest’s game is their defense. Last season the Tigers only gave up 33 points per game while scoring 51 points, that stout defense is one of the main keys to their success and junior Anna Blach is the biggest key to that defense as Head Coach Kyle Farrar says that she is the best defender on the team. West Fork continues to build a solid program. They return a lot of talent to a team that finished fourth last season in the state. The Tigers will welcome back Sydney Franklin one of the best players in the conference. Valley Springs is poised to make some noise coming out of the East. Last year the Lady Tigers went 16-17 but return a handful of starters from last years squad and a lot of young talent that coach Kimberly Jenkins thinks is going to get better as the season goes along. The Lady Tigers are young but they return a lot of players who played a lot of minutes last year for the Valley Springs. One of the returning starters that is going to have a major impact on how the team plays is returning guard Alex Simmons. Simmons is a junior who averaged 12 points 3 rebounds and 2 steals per game last season and is going to be a player to look out for in the 3A.

Bank of Gravett

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BOYS

2A-1A WEST 2A and 1A Show Strength in Arkansas By Harrison Stanfill Basketball in Arkansas is flourishing. If you aren’t looking, you could miss some really great teams right in your backyard. Nowhere is that more apparent than in Omaha. Coach Jarrod Hilton has the Eagles in a prime position to reclaim another 1A East championship as he returns four starters from a team that went 24-9 last year. The Eagles return with size from last year’s team that went undefeated in conference. 6’2 swingman, Tyler Lippe is expected to improve from last year’s 13 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per game. But Lippe is only one of six seniors that Coach Hillton has at his disposal. Omaha has depth that most teams in the conference envy, and with that depth Coach Hilton expects Omaha to go 10-14 deep.. As a result, Omaha will really look to push the tempo-and with every run, wear down their opponents.

Even with depth, Omaha is not circling the date of the championship game on their calendars just yet. Not as long as Jasper and Western Grove make plans to join Omaha this year in the 1A East. The addition of these two teams is going to make the season a lot tougher than in years past.

The Jasper Pirates are joining the show this year with an experienced team looking to challenge Omaha for the 1A East title. The Pirates went 28-11 last season. They return four starters to the squad. Dylan Kilgore is the highlight of the returning starters. As a Junior, Kilgore was All-State last year and led his team in scoring and rebounds. Kilgore, along with Seniors Seth Stuart, Evan Welch, Colby Pruitt, Laiton Jones, and Logan Snyder are looking to lead the Pirates back to a conference championship. At 6’5 “The Big Man”, Trevor Jean is expected to have a big impact for the Pirates as he will get a work out in the post. Head Coach Steve Lynch, in his second season with Jasper, thinks he has something special on his hands. And all it will take is for his seniors to play like seniors. In Conference 2A, Eureka Springs has enjoyed the best two years of basketball the school has ever seen. Under the leadership of Head Coach, Nolan Helder, The Highlanders finished last year in second place with a 28-11 record. This season gave them the best team in school history. And, as a result of their recent success, they will christen a multi-million dollar state of the art facility that is going to be the jewel of the 2A conference. Eureka Springs lost all five starters from last year’s squad that won the first state tournament game in the school’s history. Coach Helder believes he has the players this season to keep his Highlanders going in the right direction. Eureka Springs has size in the post with their 6’3 senior forwards Tanner Allee and Josh Premeau, a talented backcourt in their shooter, Dalton Johnson, and their defender/distributor, Jake McClung. With this promising team, the sky will be the limit. Decatur has struggled in recent years. But, this season looks to be very promising. The Bulldogs return all their players from last year’s team. One of the best and youngest players in 2A this season is Sophomore Mario Urquidi. Urquidi is a 6’4 forward who is only going to improve from his last season’s per-game averages of 10.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks. You can be certain this young player will be the focal point of every opposing teams’ defensive efforts when they stand toe to toe with the Bulldogs.

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Girls

2A-1A WEST 2A/1A Offers Great Basketball By Harrison Stanfill In the 2A conference, Mountainburg is the favorite this season. The Lady Dragons are coming off of a semifinal run last and are returning all starters for this season. There are some upstart teams that are expected to play some good basketball and make this a very competitive conference. One of those conference teams ready to show everyone they can compete is Decatur. The focus of Decatur’s season this year is starting anew. Last season, the Lady Bulldogs went 2-20. But, this year, under new Head Coach, Bill Niven, Decatur’s future is looking up. Niven coached boys basketball teams for 41 years; Coach Niven brings a tremendous amount of experience to the Lady Bulldogs. Niven thinks that this year’s squad is going to be just what he needs to build a winning program in Decatur. What the Lady Bulldogs have is a great mix of seniors and underclassmen including four returning starters from last season. Those four returning starters include guard, Sadie Roughton, guard, Lacy Barrett, guard, Kaula Yang and post, Hannah Ramsey. With depth in its guards, Decatur doesn’t have that same depth at post. Hannah Ramsey is going to have a lot of impact on this squad as she leads Jessica Segovia and sophomore, Courtney Kumm. Kumm, at 5’11 is the tallest player for the Lady Bulldogs, but she is young meaning she will have to learn on the job. The Eureka Springs Lady Highlanders come into this season with expectations. Last year, they went 4-26 under first year Head Coach, Brian Rambo; this team had trouble scoring. But, this season, after a year to get acclimated to Rambo’s system, the Lady Highlanders are expected to be much improved and ready to do battle in their conference. Coach Rambo has three returning starters from last year’s team. One of those returning is Taylor Osterhout. Osterhout is the team’s leading scorer and the best shooting percentage for the team. If Eureka Springs is going to improve on offense this season, it is going to be Osterhout leading the charge. “We are more balanced this year with a good shooter in Samantha Mueller and post presence with Abbey Moore and Haley Comstock, both are

over 5’10,” Rambo said. “We moved our point last season, Taylor Osterhout, to the shooting guard this season and that should give us more chances to score off the dribble from the wing.” Last season, Eureka Springs worked out the kinks in its new system. This year, Coach Rambo is fine tuning those adjustments and expects the Lady Highlanders to be firing on all cylinders. With a great mix of players bringing a new game plan and polished talent to the conference table, the future looks bright for the Lady Highlanders. In the 1A last season, the Jasper Lady Pirates had one of their best seasons, finishing 29-11 overall and 10-0 in conference play to give them first place. This year, they join the east and with the loss of all five starters from last year’s winning team, it is going to be a learning experience for first year Head Coach foe the Lady Pirates, Jeff Lewis. But all is not lost, returning three lettermen from last year, all of which are seniors this season, offers to provide help for the young and inexperienced Lady Pirates. Even though they are inexperienced, Coach Lewis believes that his team is going to improve as the season goes on-building the future of Jasper Lady Pirate basketball.

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Rogers and Fayetteville Lead 7A Bowling By Harrison Stanfill Bowling is a new sport for this area, but it is not one that should be overlooked. While mostly known for being something fun to do with your friends, bowling is not often recognized as a sport. But times are changing. Bowling, as a sport, has taken off through the high school sports system. Now officially recognized as high school sport in Arkansas, bowling is here to stay in sporting news. This newly-deemed sport provides wonderful opportunities for all athletes, offering a chance for any student to become involved with their school by joining a school team. With practice and time, great bowlers are made for a lifetime. Bowling offers athletes a way to attend college. There are multiple scholarships available for athletes who participate in bowling. Many of the “big time” schools like the University of Florida, the University of Nebraska, and the University of Kansas are among the evergrowing list of colleges and universities that offer financial help for bowling athletes. The University of Arkansas, Pine- Bluff and Arkansas State, ranking number two in the nation, both offer bowling scholarships giving local bowlers a chance to continue their education and fulfill their dream of becoming a college athlete-right here in their home state, Arkansas. When it comes to bowling in the 7A West, it is some of the best competition in the state. The Rogers Mounties have two of the best of the best in the state of Arkansas, Haley Williams and Jenni Kirk. Kirk is

expected to have a breakout season. Head Coach Greg Sandlin expects big things from her including an All-State selection. Williams is ranked as the fourth best bowler in the entire nation; she has been honored as a back-to-back All-State bowler in both her sophomore and junior years. Williams, achieving a 4.0 GPA has garnered interests from colleges for her skills in the allies and the classroom. The Mountaineers’ girl’s team brought home the state title last season; they are expected to be the top contender for the state title again this season. The guy’s side looks to gain to some steam for Rogers this year as they welcome back three experienced bowlers from last year, Brice Husted, Nic Lorren, and Blake Bayham. These returning bowlers along with Chris Watkins are expected to have a huge impact on the Rogers Mountaineers team this season. Last year, the Bentonville Tigers proved that they were ready to compete in bowling. The Tigers’ boy’s team lost one match all last season; their loss to Fayetteville was a heartache as they made their way to a first place finish in the 7A West and a second place finish in the state tournament. From the boy’s’ team all of the returning bowlers have been on the team since their freshman year. Head Coach Kyle Smith fondly refers to his guys as “KAD” which stands for Keegan Stanton, Adam Koontz, and Dylan Eichler. These three returning juniors give Coach Smith confidence when they are in the lanes. Earning his trust from the start, these

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young talents became his “A Team” in their freshmen year. On the girl’s side, the Bentonville Tigers lost five bowlers from last year’s squad that finished 2nd in the conference. The team is going to have to rely on some young talent to keep them at the top of this competitive conference. Senior Lainey Lopez is the only upperclassmen on the team; she will have to provide leadership to her teammates. The gir’ls team is solid, only losing one match last season to the powerhouse, Rogers. And, if they expect to compete with Rogers this season, Bentonville Girls will have to require a lot from this young squad. With experience returning this season, the Tigers are in a great spot to make a run at a state title..

Howie, averaging a 178, and Jon Robinson, averaging a 160, position the Bulldogs for greatness. As these two develop throughout the season, everyone expects they will only get better and better. On the girl’s side, the Bulldogs return three starters from last season. Seniors, Caitlin Noland and Miranda Elwin along with junior, Brittany Brady are ready to lead a veteran Springdale bowling team. Just like with Howie and Robinson, Elwin and Brady, both averaging 119 last season, are expected to get better this season.

The Heritage War Eagles are entering this season with some expectations. They have returning talent that Head Coach Ozy Murphy believes is going to make this year one to remember for the War Eagles. Heritage returns Levi Burr, Angela Garcia and Kendra Mortimeyer this season. These War Eagle Bowlers were key players last year, experienced in bowling in the 7A West.

The Fayetteville Bowlin Dawgs return one of the best bowler’s in the state of Arkansas, Bryant Ezell. Ezell was All-State in 2012; he returns for his senior year this season. Fayetteville Boys finished first place last season in the conference. With another year lead by Ezell, The Bowlin Dawgs look to be staying on top.

What better sport gives an athlete the chance to belong to a team and to gain a lifetime skill other than bowling? But, more importantly, what sport gives every student a chance to compete on a high school team, making memories that will last a lifetime? Bowling, welcome to the world of sports!

Even though the Springdale Bulldogs lost five starters from last year’s boy’s team and three starters from the girl’s team, they still return a good bit of young talent from last year’s squad. Sophomores Michael

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Wrestling Has Made Its Mark In Arkansas By Harrison Stanfill Wrestling is making waves in the state of Arkansas. The sport is growing in popularity and schools all around the Northwest Arkansas area are finding more and more kids that want to wrestle. Last year’s state champions Har-Ber Wildcats are set up once again to have another great year. The Wildcats return a lot of wrestlers who have experience from last year. This includes senior State Runner Ups Ty Harrison at 285 and Nick Smith at 195. Junior Douglas Matthews bring a lot of experience as well, Matthews has won 20 matches in back to back seasons and wins 66% of his matches. With senior leadership from Harrison and Smith and returning talent in the junior class the Wildcats are set up to make another run at the state title.

The Bentonville Tigers finished in first place last season in the 7A West, but even though they won conference a third place finish at State left a bad taste in their mouth. The Tigers are returning this season with a nice mix of kids from sophomores to seniors who have experience and have proven that they can

The Rogers Mounties are looking to continue their strong wrestling program but are going to have

be successful in the 7A. Senior Kyson Lawson finished 2nd in the state last season and along with sophomore Aaron Grigsby and junior Michael Morse, who both finished 3rd in the state last season, are ready to prove that the Tigers are not going anywhere in the 7A West.

done it this year after losing a state champion and a state finalist. The Mounties do return a lot of seniors that have experience wrestling in the 7A. Edwin Santos, Nick Mulcahy, and Justin Moore all return to lead Rogers this year. Santos finished third last year at 195 and Mulcahy finished third at 145. Head Coach Ken Simmons said that Santos and Mulcahy are going to move up a weight class. Justin Moore finished second last year at 132 and Simmons also expects him to move up in weight class. The Mounties finished fourth last year and return a lot of experience that is going to help them take on a difficult 7A West schedule.

The Heritage War Eagles won the state title in 2010 and are one of the most consistent programs in the 7A West. They return one of the best wrestler’s in the conference in senior Logan Evans. Evans won the state title last year at 138 and set a school record with 113 takedowns last year. The War Eagles are a young team but have experience and you be ready to compete with the rest of the league. The Springdale Bulldogs are building around a young group of talent. Although they didn’t produce the results they would have liked they have one of the best young wrestlers in the state. Sophomore Joey Adams won state at 106 last year as a freshman and is going to lead a young group of Bulldogs to make strides in the 7A.

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Bentonville Reigns In 7A Swim and Dive By Harrison Stanfill

From 2005 to 2012, the Bentonville Tigers won eight straight swimming state championships. With 13 titles under their cap, the Tigers can claim the record for the most consecutive state titles and most state titles. Out of the last nine years, the girl’s team has won six state titles. They have combined with boy’s team to earn the Bentonville Tigers the position of the most feared swimming and diving team in the state of Arkansas. This season however, Head Coach Nick Nersesian is tasked with filling a void left by 15 graduating starters. Coach Nersesian thinks that his team will step up to fill this void. The young team has their solid club training which provides a depth that other teams only wish they could boast. After a third place finish in conference by the Har-Ber Girl’s Team, Head Coach Samantha Brown is predicting the same kind of finish for the Boy’s Team this year. This season, the Wildcats return five seniors; Coach Brown thinks that experience should put them in a position to contend for a top three finish in the conference. The Wildcats comprise a group that Coach Brown calls a “family”. It is their relationship both in and out of the pool that will be of benefit them this season. When Head Coach Matt Hervey and Assistant Coach Ronnie Waid took over the Springdale Bulldog Swimming Program there were eight swimmers. This season, the team claims 34 members. After a 4th place finish from the Boy’s team last season, the future is looking bright for Springdale. This Bulldog Team returns a core group of swimmers and divers including three state tournament-qualifying relay teams. Coach Hervey expects this to be one of the best years ever for the Bulldog Swim Team since the district split into two high schools. With this expectation, Coach Hervey

believes this season, even more of his team will qualify for State. Coming off a fourth place finish in state with the girl’s team, the Fayetteville Bulldogs are poised to have an even better season this year. Fayetteville returns four state-qualifiers from last season, three of which were freshman. Highlighted by Madysen Bailey, Student of the Year last year, the Fayetteville Swim Team looks to be in fine shape. Coming off a 7th place finish at the state level last season, the Bulldog Boy’s team returns four state qualifiers. These returning swimmers and divers are highlighted by senior, Peter Du, a National Merit semifinalist. No one would argue that this level of excellence both in and out of the pool makes Coach Kaminski’s team a success. It appears the Bulldogs primed and ready for another successful swimming and diving season. Both Heritage teams finished 2nd place in the conference last season and a 6th place finish at state. These two teams under the direction of Head Coach Julie Sakalares return experienced swimmers and divers. These experienced War Eagles are ready to prove that they belong at the top of their conference. Senior Colton Holland, after winning the State 100 Meter Freestyle in 2012 is ready to lead Heritage this season. Shouldering the leadership along with Holland is Samuel Schaefer, returning junior state-qualifier in freestyle and backstroke. But that leadership continues on the girl’s team with the War Eagles’ returning senior, Shelby King, a state qualifier for relay. These leaders are going to be the highlight of the experienced Heritage Swimming and Diving squad.

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Wrestling - Logan Evans – Heritage The Senior is a returning state champion for the Heritage War Eagles. Evans set a school record last year in takedowns recording 113 on his way to claiming the state title at 138. As a junior, Evan’s achieved a record of 81-29; he claimed a record of 43-13 on his way to a state championship. According to Evan’s Head Coach, Doug Freeman, it is no accident that Evans found himself in this position. “Logan is a relentless wrestler who works as hard as any wrestler I have coached in my 20 years coaching. He is on the mat in every offseason practice, wrestling tournaments in the offseason, and offseason camps. It is no accident that Logan has turned into such a dominating wrestler.” Evans holds many season records for Heritage including Most Tech Falls, Takedowns, and Major Decisions. At this point, he has earned the rights to be the career record holder for most Tech Falls. It is expected that after this season, he will hold career records in Most Victories, Takedowns, Near Falls, and Total Points. Coming from a school that has had nine State Champions, Evans is expected to surpass them all-a Champ among Champions.

Wrestling – Nick Smith – Har-Ber Returning to the Har-Ber Wildcats team as one of their two state runner-ups, Senior Nick Smith was conference runner up as well. Smith came in second place at 195 last season and is poised to take it home this

season at the same weight. Smith has an overall record of 75-12; in his career, Smith has compiled some impressive stats. Nick has 94 overall takedowns in his career, 49 pins, and 43 first takedowns. Smith was instrumental in leading the Har-Ber Wildcats to a wrestling state title last year. Smith is a successful student-proven by his GPA of 3.0. According to Head Coach Nika West, Smith has turned into a leader on and off the mat. “Nick has emerged as the leader of this team going into the 2012-2013 season. He has become more vocal during practices and setting an example for his fellow teammates.” Nick Smith is expected to have a big season this year as he becomes a contender for a state title for himself and hopes to lead the Har-Ber Wildcats to back to back state titles.

Bowling – Haley Williams – Rogers Williams is entering into her senior season with the Rogers Mounties. As a founding member of the Rogers Bowling team and a state champion from last year, Williams has received interest from major bowling programs like Wichita State. The fact that she has a 4.00 GPA and is one of the best bowlers in the state makes her a player to watch. As a sophomore in 2011, Williams was All-State and All-Conference finishing in 2nd place in the State Tournament Individual Round. In 2012, Williams again earned All-State and All-Conference honors and another 2nd place finish in Individual. Leading the Mounties to claim the 2012 Team State Championship in bowling, Williams is poised to only get better her senior year.

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NWA 2012 Basketball  

Northwest Arkansas 2012 Basketball

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