For Bryant head coach Kirk Bock, the Hornets have lived up to the title of defending state champions.
“They’ve done everything were asked them to and more,” he said. “They’ve battled hard all year.”
And after winning the 7A Central again, this weekend Bryant (21-6, 10-4) heads into the 7A State Tournament in Fort Smith as a No. 1 seed, looking to repeat last year’s championship run.
With a first-round bye, at noon Saturday the Hornets will face the winner of Friday’s game between Springdale Har-Ber and Cabot.
Bock said he’s been stressing the small things to his team at practice this week.
“I’ve told them to just do what we do,” he said. “If we just keep trying to get better at the small things, the big things will fall into place.”
Looking back on the season, Bock said his team has had to battle through some bad breaks, including the loss of several players, but came out on top like a championship-caliber team deserving of this weekend’s top seed.
Among the players lost earlier this year were senior Blake Davidson and sophomores Marcus Wilson and Hayden Daniel.
“They’ve had to play without some guys, but these kids overcame adversity,” he said. “They filled their shoes.”
He said, “We’ve been hit on a few times, but they get right back up and keep going.
I couldn’t be more proud of this team.”
Like last year’s championship team, Bock said this year’s squad is pumped up at the chance of bringing home a title — but not overly excited.
“Last year’s team didn’t get too excited about any certain game, and that’s the way these guys are, too,” he said.