Lady Bobcats tune up for conference showdown

Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Berryville senior point guard Baylea Smith puts up a shot from the lane against Shiloh Christian on Friday. After being honored as homecoming queen, Smith scored 10 points in the Lady Bobcats’ 55-22 victory.
Charles Chappell /

By Scott Loftis

The Berryville Lady Bobcats easily could have been distracted Friday night, celebrating homecoming against an opponent with a losing record, with two big games looming this week.

Instead of losing focus, however, the Lady Bobcats took care of business by defeating Shiloh Christian 55-22.

Senior forward Kelcee Hopper scored 13 points, while sophomore guard Lilli Compton added 12 and senior guard Baylea Smith — who earlier was honored as homecoming queen — added 10.

“Homecoming is always kind of scary, because there’s a lot of distractions,” said Berryville coach Daniel Cornelison, whose team has won 31 consecutive regular-season games. “They gave us a little bit of trouble, but we turned them over some and got some easy looks. We hit some big three-pointers. It was a game where we took care of business.”

Business promises to be a little tougher this week, as the Lady Bobcats host Farmington on Tuesday and travel to Pea Ridge on Friday.

Berryville (19-0) is ranked No. 1 among Arkansas Class 4A teams by MaxPreps. Farmington (15-3) is second and Pea Ridge (17-3) is fourth.

“It’s a tough week,” Cornelison said. “Farmington is by all accounts one of the best teams in the state. They’re as good as any team in the state, and Pea Ridge is right there with them.”

Cornelison said Farmington is a guard-oriented team that likes to play fast.

“They play at a really high pace,” he said. “They call it Farmington Fast. That’s their motto over there.”

Berryville’s guards have played well all season, led by Smith, but the Lady Bobcats’ biggest strength has been the inside dominance of Hopper and senior forward Hannah Morrell. Cornelison said Berryville will try to control the tempo and make Farmington play a half-court game.

“We’ve got to make them score consistently in a half-court set,” he said. “That will be to our benefit.”

One thing Cornelison is confident about: His players are excited about the challenge.

“They love playing games like this,” he said. “They want to play competitive games, and I do, too. That’s what makes you better.”

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