Local teams chasing glory
There’s never much of a slow time for high school sports — at least during the school year.
But this is an especially busy, and important, time of the year for Carroll County teams.
Three Carroll County teams will be competing in regional basketball tournaments this week, and the Berryville High School wrestling team will try to bring home a state championship this weekend in Little Rock.
On the basketball court, the Berryville Lady Bobcats will compete in the 4A North Regional Tournament at Morrilton, while both the Eureka Springs boys and girls teams will play in the 2A West Regional at Danville. As things shook out in last week’s district tournaments, it turns out that all three local teams will essentially be playing true road games in the first round of their respective regionals: Berryville’s girls will play Morrilton, while both Eureka Springs teams will face Danville in the first round.
Of course, the first round of the regional tournament is the most important. A victory means a trip to the state tournament; a loss means the end of your season. Winning that first-round game can take some pressure off, since the final two rounds are essentially just for seeding the state tournament.
The Lady Bobcats stumbled a bit in the district tournament final, losing to the same Farmington team they had beaten by 29 points earlier in the season. Berryville is at its best when it can hit a few shots from the outside to keep teams from focusing entirely on outstanding senior forwards Hannah Morrell and Kelcee Hopper. The Lady Bobcats also rely on a stingy defense, but they were vulnerable to the three-point shot in the loss to Farmington.
Berryville has bounced back strong from both of its previous losses this season. It might not be easy on Morrilton’s home floor, but my guess is the Lady Bobcats find a way to extend their season.
There may not be a hotter team right now than the Eureka Springs boys. The Highlanders have won 16 consecutive games — a stretch that covers more than two months. Senior guard Garrett Cross is Eureka Springs’ go-to guy on offense, but the Highlanders have good players all around him. Eureka Springs seems primed to stick around for a while in the regional and state tournaments.
If there was a coach of the year award for Carroll County, it would go to Ryan Sanchez in a landslide. The first-year head coach has revived the girls program at Eureka Springs, with the help of some talented players who bought in quickly and brought home a conference championship for the Lady Highlanders. The program is still growing, and Sanchez is the first to admit that the Lady Highlanders are still learning to win close games, but don’t bet against them.
As for the Berryville wrestling team, the Bobcats have a legitimate chance to bring home a whole lot of hardware this weekend. Junior Colton Record at 285 pounds and freshman Caleb Record at 106 have been outstanding all season. Junior Brett Parsons was a state runner-up last season and senior Christian Lemus also has been a standout so far this season. In fact, the Bobcats have so many talented wrestlers that I’m probably leaving someone out. My apologies but please know I’m pulling for all of you.
Of course, journalists are supposed to be objective. But the truth is, when you cover a team all season, when you get to know the coaches and when those teams represent your community, you’re rooting for them to do well.
Best of luck to all the local teams this weekend.
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Scott Loftis is managing editor for Carroll County Newspapers. His email address is CarrollCountyNews@cox-internet.com.