Bobcats looking to expand season
BERRYVILLE -- Coming off a 20-11 season that ended in the first round of the Class 4A state tournament with a 60-58 double-overtime loss to McGehee, Berryville basketball coach Brent Comåpton and the Bobcats prepare for the upcoming season with a quality group of returning starters.
A trio of talent will take aim from outside, including all-conference senior guards Daniel Hoppe and Rick Porter and junior All-Conference guard Austin Carr, while Compton lays fresh canvas in the paint after losing everything down low.
Hoppe led the team with 13.5 points per outing last year.
"We pretty much run our offense through Daniel (Hoppe) and Austin (Carr)," Compton said. "That should create opportunities for everyone else because those two are going to draw a lot of attention."
With the opposition focusing on Hoppe and Carr, Compton said Porter and senior Matt Manley should also have ample opportunities to score from outside. He also pointed to senior Austin Lehr as a key piece to the puzzle to advance past the first round of the state tournament.
Compton said the post position could be by committee with seniors Jeff Adams, Drew Howerton and juniors Josh Morrell and Ethan Chapin all fighting for playing time.
"It will come down to skill level and whoever plays the best at that time," Compton said of the inside battle. "It may be by committee. We aren't sure what we are going to look like down there just yet. We need all four of them to be able to go in and give quality minutes."
Compton has compiled a 130-103 record in nine seasons at Berryville and is 191-128 in 12 season overall, including a three-year stint at Crane High School in Crane, MO. He has guided the Bobcats to several successful seasons but has yet to advance past the first round of state, something he would like to change this year.
"We would like to go back to back," Compton said. "We would like to go back to the state tournament and build on what we did last year. We have high expectations here. We expect to outwork everyone. We expect to win 20 games a year. We expect to be competitive in every game."
To reach the state tournament, the Bobcats must navigate the 1-4A Conference that includes Gravette, Pea Ridge, Farmington and Ozark. The Cats finished second in the region last year to Shiloh Christian, which moved out of the division for this year.
"I think all these teams will be in the mix to make the regional tournament," he said. "It all depends on how well the teams gel and play together."
Compton said Berryville was also included in that mix and with regular-season success and a good run in regionals could find its way back to the state level. Maybe even beyond.
"We have been close...we just haven't managed to expand past that first state tournament game," Compton said. "If you get back there it's something they have done before. They know what to expect. I think if everyone comes together and plays their roles effectively there is no reason we can't get back there."
Compton said he hopes situations in practice will aid in that process.
"You tell them what you think their role is and what the expectations are," Compton said. "You create an environment that reinforces that and hopefully when you play the game you were right and successful. Each win then breeds more confidence in the beliefs you tried to instill. Its not a magical formula."