Bobcats bounce back with 19-win season
By Scott Loftis
The Berryville Bobcats’ basketball season didn’t end the way coach Brent Compton would have liked, but that doesn’t mean Compton is disappointed in the season as a whole.
Berryville won 19 games and returned to the 4A North Regional Tournament for the first time in two years before losing to Morrilton 67-48 in a first-round game last Thursday at Bobcat Arena.
Berryville led that game 31-26 at halftime before Morrilton’s pressure defense took its toll in the second half. The Bobcats also were hindered by the loss of senior forward Scotland Lucas, who suffered a broken nose early in the first quarter.
“The relentless ball pressure just wore on us as the game went on. We did fine the first half. Losing Scot was really rough on us. He’s a physical presence around the basket rebounding and scoring. Losing him hurt us around the basket, and Morrilton really exploited that in the second half.”
Still, it was a good season for the Bobcats. After going 9-18 a year ago, Berryville finished 19-12. The Bobcats also doubled their conference win total, improving from 2-9 to 4-7. And Berryville reached the championship game of the district tournament to clinch its berth in the regional.
Lucas and four other seniors will graduate this spring, but the Bobcats will retain a solid nucleus. Sophomores Kade Davidson and Weston Teague started at point guard and power forward, respectively, and junior guard Landon Chester will also return. Junior forward J.D. Smith was a part-time starter, as well. And Berryville will bring in a talented sophomore class for next season, fresh off a junior high conference championship.
“With a fairly young team and some young kids coming up, we’re happy and excited for the future,” Compton said. “We’ve got great kids, hard-working kids that are willing to put in the time and the effort to continue to improve, and we’re looking forward to it as coaches.”
Compton said he was grateful for the community’s support in putting on the regional tournament.
“I would like to thank everybody that helped us, that sponsored us with money to help with all the things that we have to do,” Compton said. “I just want to thank our community and the people that stepped in and helped us to allow us to have such a great tournament.”