The Bryant Hornets had a very successful season a year ago when theymade it to the semifinals of the 7A state tournament and lost to a loaded Little Rock Hall team which won the state title. With a semifinal appearance, one would expect high expectation the next year, but the Hornets have a totally different team this year.
While many may feel that the high school football season just started, for us journalists, it has been a long, but exciting year. With Bryant, Benton and Sheridan automatically in the playoffs before the season even starts, the special rule leave many with a "huh?" look on their faces. Iâ€™m one of those people.
How in the world does an 0-10 Little Rock Fair team get in the postseason while a 4-6 Harmony Grove team sits at home or in the stands and watches Round 1? But, I didnâ€™t make the rules and instead, it gives the Saline County area more chances to bring home a trophy.
The Harmony Grove senior boys basketball program took enormous leaps after the 2007 season, making the state tournament in 2008 and 2009 under the helm of Head Coach Richard Moore. Since then, the Cardinals have been on a bit of a downward spiral, finishing under .500 after losing most of the 2008 and 2009 core to graduation.
But now the Cardinals are back in the history books at the start of the 2012 season. After being the lead man for four seasons, Moore elected to resign his position on the basketball court to concentrate on football and soccer.
With a new basketball season set to get under way, Miners head basketball Coach Mark Smith is stressing two things to his team as they prepare for their first game.
â€śWe talk about it all the time in practice â€“ effort and execution,â€ť Smith said. â€śNo matter what sport you play, those are the two key works that everyone looks to try and find. â€ś
Last season, Bauxite finished one game under .500 with an overall record of 14-15.
Earlier this year Lady Miners head basketball Coach Joshua Harrison gave each girl on his basketball team one piece of a puzzle. As his team looked at him with confusion, Harrison explained how it would all make sense in the end.
â€śWe all are individuals, we all have unique and different skills, but when we come together and we lock those pieces together, we can make up a very strong team,â€ť Harrison said.
With a new basketball season on the horizon, Harrison is hoping this visual motivates his team.
Rarely does a team graduate four starting seniors from a single team in a single season of high school basketball. Even rarer, is when those four seniors have played on the same team together since the fifth grade. This was the headline of the 2011 Harmony Grove Lady Cardinals. New Harmony Grove Head Coach John White was welcomed by a strong and talented team in his first year over the Lady Cardinals in 2011.
The Harmony Grove Cardinals finished off the regular season in style when they pulled out their third shutout of the season on the road at Horatio with a 27-0 domination of the Lions on Thursday night in 5-3A conference action.
"We played well on both sides of the ball and the kicking game," Assistant Coach Richard Moore said. "Good effort."
Harmony Grove also shut out Poyen 17-0 in Week 1 and Bismarck 27-0 in Week 5.
The No. 1 seed Benton Lady Panthers had little resistance from the No. 8 seed Searcy Lady Lions in the first round of the 6A state tournament coming away with a 3-0 sweep in Greenwood. The Lady Panthers won 25-10, 25-7 and 25-10 to dominate and will face Russellville tonight at 6 p.m. after the Lady Cyclones took down Bentonâ€™s 6A South rival Sheridan Lady Jackets yesterday.
*Published yesterday in the Courier. For full access to content, subscribe to our print edition today.
After receiving a bye in the opening round of the 7A state tournament, the No. 2 seed Bryant Lady Hornets will take on No. 3 seed Fort Smith Southside today, which beat Rogers 3-0 on Tuesday at Rogers Heritage High School. The Lady Hornets will play at 2 p.m.
C.W. Lewis Stadium played host to its final Friday night Benton Panther football game and El Dorado spoiled the party. The Wildcats closed C.W Lewis the same way the it opened it 76 years ago with a win over Benton.
El Dorado (6-3, 5-1) defeated Benton (3-6, 2-4) by a score of 38-0. The Wildcats rolled up 395 yards against an injury-riddled Panther defense and held the Benton offense to 169 yards of total offense.