Six Benton players take home honors

For the Benton Lady Panthers this season, two things were always constant: They battled every night and it was total team effort.

Not one player was dominant on the floor, but instead a different girl led the team in scoring or defense almost every night.

The rest of the 6A South took notice of the team effort as six Benton Lady Panthers were awarded all-conference honors for their performance during the 2010-11 season.

Seniors Rose McGuire and Katelyn Simmons, juniors Brooke Million and Bailey Gately, and sophomores Madison Brooks and Kori Parker earned 6A South All-Conference this season.

“We really didn’t have a standout player,” head coach Jerry Chumley said. “The other coaches really liked those six players.

“They all had big games for us from time to time, so every one of them was recognized.”

McGuire also was selected to the 6A All-Tournament Team.

“She was our best player that night,” Chumley said. “She took two charges and was by far our best defender.”

McGuire only had about six points, but she also had three steals in the first round of the state tournament in Marion.

“She was making senior plays,” Chumley said. “She was one of those good players where it doesn’t always show up in the stat book.”

McGuire led the team in charges taken with 17. The next closest had six.

“She was one of those players that always gave maxim effort, and that is something that every coach wants out of their players,” Chumley said.

Chumley said even though she was small for her position and was “always outmanned as far as physically,” McGuire liked to do the dirty work on the bigger players.

“She liked that. She accepted the role,” Chumley said. “We need a couple of Rose McGuires on the team every year.”

Chumley said McGuire plans to attend the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Benton’s other senior, Akane Forbess, got hurt in the first conference game of the season.

The Lady Panthers finished the season 14-14 (9-5 6A South). Their conference finish was good enough for fourth place.

“That was the highest we had finished in conference in about 15 years, I believe,” Chumley said. “Its been a long time since we were in the top half of the conference.”

Chumley said he is optimistic about next season and can’t wait to go back and “hoop.”

“We got a lot of kids coming back, and we are looking forward to hooping it up again already,” Chumley said.