Lady Tigers take down West Fork to win 3A Region 1 Championship
CHARLESTON -- "We are just a bunch of little, itsy, bitsy rascals, but we play hard as a team and we give it all we got."
Green Forest girls basketball coach Kyle Farrar couldn't have said it any better. His itsy, bitsy little rascals came up large this past weekend at the 3A-Region 1 Tournament at Charleston. They fought and clawed their way to the regional championship, the program's first since 1997.
With the victory, the Lady Tigers (24-4) will be a No. 1 seed in this week's state tournament at Harding Academy in Searcy. In their first round game, the Lady Tigers will play Rose Bud Wednesday at 1 p.m.
Green Forest junior Nikki Mullen was named most valuable player of the regional tournament, and her twin sister Tara Mullen as well as senior Kara Heads were named on the all tournament team.
Nikki Mullen scored 56 points in the three-game tournament, but said the championship was a total team effort.
"We all worked together," Nikki Mullen said. "We all came together and made big plays and got big rebounds. This tells everybody that our school is back. We haven't won this thing in a long time, but now everybody knows that we are a good team."
Green Forest's road to the regional championship went like this
* On Thursday, the Lady Tigers out-slugged Lavaca 41-26 in the opening round of the tournament. Nikki Mullen scored 14 points in the victory, and Tara Mullen added 12.
"It was ugly, and neither team shot it that well," Farrar said. "But I was really proud of the defense we played."
* In Friday's semifinal, the Lady Tigers overcame the homecourt advantage of Charleston and advanced to the final with a 58-54 victory. Nikki Mullen again led the Lady Tigers in scoring with 23 points, and Heads added nine points.
* In Saturday's championship game, the Lady Tigers met up against their old rival West Fork and came away with a 50-43 victory. Led by 19 points from Nikki Mullen, Green Forest took the lead for good when Heads made two free throws with five minutes in the game. Then Tara Mullen, Kodee Powell, Nikki Mullen and Lindsey Savage all stepped up to the free throw line and made their attempts in the game's final two minutes.
Saturday's win marked the second victory for Green Forest over West Fork in one week. The Lady Tigers defeated West Fork last week in Elkins in the district semifinal game.
"This feels so amazing," said Savage, a sophomore. "We all wanted it really bad and now we are champions."
Said Tara Mullen, "This feels awesome. This says that we came in and played our best."
Though the Lady Tigers are heading into the state tournament with a lot of momentum, they say they won't have big heads.
Last year, Green Forest fell in the first round of the state in the first round of the state tournament.
"It's going to be difficult," Tara Mullen said. "But I don't think we are going to freak out like we did last time."
The head coach said he is going to let the team enjoy the victory over the weekend, but come Monday the team is going back to work.
"Right now, I am just enjoying the moment," he said.