Hardwood season in Carroll County full of ups and downs

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

With basketball season drawing to a close as Green Forest's boys being the lone team standing in Carroll County, springtime is upon us and spring sports are starting to sprout.

The sound of metal cleats and aluminum bats ring out across baseball and softball diamonds around the area. Soccer practice is underway and track and field athletes are preparing for the upcoming season.

In the meantime, Green Forest travels to Paris on Wednesday to play Charleston in first-round regional action on the hardwood. Under first-year head coach Brandon Stone, the Tigers doubled the past three years win total combined as Stone guided the program to six wins to this point.

Considering the state of the program prior to his arrival, Stone deserves a standing ovation for his accomplishments. He instilled some things in the team that have been lacking, mainly the confidence needed to win some games.

The Tigers face a stiff challenge on Wednesday against top-seeded Charleston. Regardless of the outcome, Stone has the program pointed in the right direction.

Each of the Carroll County teams found their share of success this year. Berryville's girls were probably the surprise of the county, winning 17 games under first-year coach Daniel Cornelison. The Lady Bobcats won three tournament titles and were a win away from reaching the regional tournament after winning only eight games last year. Cornelison didn't lose anything from this year's squad and should come back next year with both barrels loaded.

Berryville's boys didn't fare as well, finishing with 15 wins in a snake bit season that saw the Bobcats lose eight games by four points or less. Coach Brent Compton was as much for a loss of words as anyone all season, knowing the Cats had the potential to reach higher levels. But for whatever reason, things just didn't come together. Call it chemistry, or lack thereof.

Green Forest's girls also suffered a snakebite season with injuries to key players that resulted in a 14-11 campaign. The Lady Tigers played for a 3A state title last year and had the weapons to make another run towards Little Rock. But those injuries created an imbalance for head coach Kyle Farrar as players were forced to play out of position all year. The season ended against Cedarvillle in the district tournament less than a week after the Lady Tigers beat the Lady Pirates to finish the regular season.

Nolan Helder and the Eureka Springs Highlanders had possibly the most up and down season of them all, winning two games in a row only once and finishing at .500 with a 15-15 record. The injury bug also bit the Highlanders, forcing Helder to play players out of place until late in the season when it was too late to truly gel as a team. The Highlanders also had a couple of players miss the entire first half due to grades. Helder did a good job of piecing things together but the Highlanders would have certainly had more success with a full compliment of players for the entire season.

That leaves the Lady Highlanders, winner of 12 games this year after accumulating just four wins last year. Brian Rambo took over the girl's program and completely changed the mentality of the team. Actually, he made it a team instead of a group of individuals. There were times when the Lady Highlanders were overmatched. But for the most part, Rambo's girls were in every game. The Lady Highlanders lose a couple of seniors that will be difficult to replace. Rambo will begin that process soon and I expect that team to be even more competitive next year.

The National Weather Service is calling for a winter storm later this week. Bundle up and endure the final days of winter. Springtime and spring sports are coming soon.

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Chan Davis is the Sports Editor for the Carroll County News. He can be reached at ccnsports@cox-internet.com or 870-654-2742.

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