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Fort Smith Northside High School News

t took a couple of shots from beyond the perimeter to really get the Lady Bears going. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Tracey Bershers and Jazz Coleman started a run of 23 straight points. Northside rolled from there, picking up its eighth consecutive win by downing Little Rock Central, 56-26, in 6A-Central action Tuesday night at Kaundart-Grizzly Fieldhouse. “Good win, good win,” Northside coach Rickey Smith said. “We missed a couple of shots early and Central was controlling the tempo, so we tried to speed it up a little bit. “We would go down, get one shot and miss, and then they would dribble it real slow down the floor, pass, pass, pass. I looked up (at the scoreboard) and four minutes into the game it was a very slow tempo, but then boom, boom, boom, we hit a couple of shots and you saw us explode.” Down 2-0 to the Lady Tigers (4-7, 0-2) and having already missed some easy shots, the Lady Bears (13-3, 2-0) finally got some shots to fall. Did they ever. Bershers and Coleman’s treys put Northside up 6-2. Then, senior guard Eriel West fed sophomore forward Haitianna Releford inside for a basket, and West followed with a short jumper of her own to push the lead to 10-2. “We just kept fighting and just kept our head in the game, and continued to do what we do at Northside and continued to play,” West said. “We focused on our self. ... We focused more on Northside getting better. “It’s been kind of a slow start for myself, but I kind of just kept fighting and kept practicing hard because I knew what I could do for my team and try to be positive that I can to keep my team up and to keep us all going.” Northside kept building the lead, scoring 23 straight points. The run also featured 3's from Jersey Wolfenbarger and Avery Shelly. A foul shot from Wolfenbarger two minutes into the second quarter capped it off, giving the Lady Bears a commanding 23-2 advantage. Northside then built a 24-point lead in the final seconds of the opening half, 33-9, as Bershers finished off a three-point play. The Lady Bears remained in control throughout the second half, with a continuous clock played during the fourth quarter. “We’re playing much better basketball, but we’ve got to stay focused,” Smith said. “We’ve got a big, big game Friday on the road (at Mount St. Mary) and then the gauntlet week next week against Conway and North Little Rock, and that will decide to see where you’re at. ... We’ve got a lot of basketball left to play. “I am proud of the fact of the way we shared the basketball (Tuesday); several times where we made that extra pass and that’s fun to watch.” Wolfenbarger led Northside with 15 points, which included making a pair of 3's. Northside 63, LR Central 44 BOYS — Coming off their big win last week against Bryant, the Grizzlies may have started off a bit slow in the first half, but they heated up right before halftime. Specifically, senior forward Jaylin Williams, who capped the half with a one-handed dunk right down the lane with time running out. Northside (12-4, 2-0), which posted its 10th consecutive win, trailed by five points early in the second quarter to the Tigers (7-8, 0-2). But a 12-4 run helped the Grizzlies to a 23-20 lead midway through the period. Williams then accounted for the team’s last three field goals in the opening half, a dunk, a tip-back after a missed shot and then another dunk. That half-ending dunk was set up by Northside forcing a turnover on the other end. Blood Sugar Ultra Start Eating This Everyday To Reduce Blood Sugar (Watch) Sponsored by Blood Sugar Ultra See More Garrett Keller came up with the loose ball and found Williams all alone streaking past half-court. Williams did the rest, slamming it home to put Northside up by seven at the break, 29-22. The Grizzlies built a 10-point lead, 44-34, when Noah Gordon ended the third quarter with a baseline jumper. Williams then opened the fourth by hitting a 3 for a 47-34 advantage. Northside extended its lead to 19 points, 55-36, midway through the fourth when Williams converted consecutive put-back shots. While the presence of Williams has helped, not to mention other players coming through in a variety of roles, Northside coach Eric Burnett said defense has been another key reason for the team’s current 10-game win streak. “Defensively, I feel like we’re playing better defense now than we were earlier,” Burnett said. “I think that’s been the key is the stops, and us stepping up and saying, ‘Hey, we’ve got to have stops.’” In fact, Northside held the Tigers to 32 percent shooting from the field (16-of-50), along with holding Central to 18 percent from 3-point range (5-of-27). The Grizzlies, meanwhile, shot 57 percent from the field (24-of-42). Williams finished the game with 27 points, 18 of those coming in the opening half. He picked up another double-double in grabbing 15 rebounds along with two blocks. He went 11-of-15 from the field, 3-of-5 from 3-point range and made both of his free-throw attempts. Senior forward Braylin McKinley also hit double figures as he had 11 points. McKinley went 3-of-4 from the field and 5-of-6 from the line while also recording eight rebounds. “I’m really proud of Braylin and Jaylin, because the last two teams we’ve played have been guard-oriented, and they have had to step out on the floor and guard their guards,” Burnett said. “I’ve been pleased with the way they’ve been doing that. Now, (Central) did hit a couple of 3's, but for the most part, (Williams and McKinley) have done a really good job of jumping out there on the wing and guarding people.” ...

1/15/2020

Fort Smith Northside High School News

Fresh off a home sweep in the 6A-Central opener, Northside’s teams attempt to do it again on Tuesday. The Lady Bears and Grizzlies will be at Kaundart-Grizzly Fieldhouse once again, this time to take on Little Rock Central beginning with the girls game at approximately 6 p.m. In the girls’ game, Northside (12-3, 1-0) will attempt to extend its current winning streak to eight straight ballgames. The Lady Bears posted a 67-47 win against Bryant last Friday in the 6A-Central opener. Junior point guard Jersey Wolfenbarger led the way with 27 points on 10-of-17 field-goal shooting and a perfect 5-of-5 from the free-throw line. It was the seventh straight game Wolfenbarger has scored in double figures. She also recorded a double-double with 13 rebounds to go along with three blocks. Senior Jazz Coleman had a double-digit night as well, scoring 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field. Sophomore Haitianna Releford nearly finished with a double-double, getting nine points and nine boards. Wolfenbarger currently leads the Lady Bears in scoring with 18.4 points per game, followed by junior Tracey Bershers with 15.4. Bershers returned to action in Friday’s win after missing the previous two games with a back injury. Little Rock Central comes in at 4-6 overall. The Lady Tigers are coming off a 55-29 loss to North Little Rock in their 6A-Central opener on Friday. In the boys game, the Grizzlies (11-4, 1-0) are seeking their 10th consecutive win. Friday against Bryant in a rematch of last season’s 6A title game, Northside rallied from an eight-point third-quarter deficit to post a 60-50 win. Senior center Jaylin Williams had another double-double, finishing with 26 points while grabbing 15 rebounds. He also blocked two shots and came up with a pair of steals. Williams was 50 percent from the field (10-of-20) and made 5-of-6 foul shots. The Grizzlies also got a lift from a pair of seniors, Garrett Keller and Maury Owens. Keller scored all 10 of his points in the second half, including the go-ahead basket with more than three minutes left as Northside ended the game on a 12-2 run. Owens had 10 points as well, going 8-of-10 from the foul line. Central (7-7, 0-1) dropped a 64-53 decision at home to North Little Rock in its conference opener Friday. Northside will hit the road for the first time in 6A-Central play this Friday when the Lady Bears play at Mount St. Mary and the Grizzlies go to Little Rock Catholic. Also on Tuesday, Southside’s teams will be on the road for the second straight time to start the conference slate, as the Mavericks go to Cabot. Southside was swept on the road at Conway last Friday, with Conway’s girls taking a 77-27 decision and Conway’s boys prevailing, 79-56. Cabot’s girls are off to a 13-1 start, and have won 12 straight games. The Lady Panthers won at Mount St. Mary last week, 60-50, in their 6A-Central opener. As for the boys, Cabot stands at 11-3 overall. The Panthers also won their conference opener last week, winning 49-38 at Catholic. Southside will have its 6A-Central home opener this Friday as the Mavs welcome in North Little Rock....

1/14/2020

Fort Smith Southside High School News

The Conway Wampus Cats opened 6A-Central play with a 79-56 win over the Southside Mavericks. Mykale Franks had 14 for the Mavericks (5-10, 0-1). Jairo Phonesouphan added 13 points....

1/11/2020

Fort Smith Northside High School News

One Northside senior who wasn’t part of the Grizzlies’ 6A state title win last season against Bryant was Garrett Keller. He sat out all of last season before returning to play for the Grizzlies. On Friday, with the Grizzlies in dire straits to start the second half in the rematch with Bryant in both teams 6A-Central opener, Keller came through at the right time. Keller scored all 10 of his points in the second half, helping the Grizzlies rally from eight points down in the third quarter. His basket with more than three minutes left to play broke a 48-all tie score and started a game-ending 12-2 run as Northside beat Bryant, 60-50, at Kaundart-Grizzly Fieldhouse. “Whenever a team focuses on Jaylin (Williams), it opens it up for everybody else and makes it so easy to score, so I just found my opportunities and took them,” Keller said. “I’ve been waiting for a long time to get back out on the court and (Friday) was what I had been looking for.” Northside (11-4, 1-0), which also picked up its ninth consecutive win, trailed 39-31 after Bryant began the second half on a 16-7 run. But Keller helped keep the Grizzlies afloat with a pair of big third-quarter baskets, including receiving a no-look backdoor pass down low from Williams for the finish to cut the Hornets’ lead to two, 44-42....

1/11/2020

Fort Smith Northside High School News

The Lady Bears ran their current winning streak to seven straight with a decisive win in Friday’s 6A-Central opener. “Offensively, we were a little flat, we really were,” Northside coach Rickey Smith said. “We missed some easy shots early, but Bryant also gave us trouble last year; same team, they’re quick. “Not disappointed in the win; when you win by 20 points in the conference, you’ve got to be extremely happy. But I know that we can play a little bit better; we missed some shots, had some turnovers.” Northside gave up the game’s opening point before taking control with a 9-2 run, capped by a three-point play from Jersey Wolfenbarger. The Lady Bears (12-3, 1-0) then went up by double digits early in the second quarter, 21-10, on a basket from Jalyn Ford. Late in the first half, Tracey Bershers — making her return after missing the previous two games due to a back injury — hit a 3 pointer; then on the next possession, Eriel West came up with a steal and fed teammate Haitianna Releford for an easy layup, giving Northside a 34-21 lead. The Lady Bears then extended it to 15 points early in the second half, 39-24, on a 3 from Avery Shelly. They maintained a double-digit advantage from there. Smith also made it a point to salute the home crowd for coming out for the earlier than usual tip-off time due to the stormy weather conditions. “How about the crowd (Friday); very good crowd on a stormy night,” Smith said. “I’m just so thankful for Northside fans. ... I’m just very thankful to have fans at Northside High School that come out and support the girls like this.” Wolfenbarger, who had 33 points in the Lady Bears’ win against Greenwood last Saturday, ended up with 27 points. She had 15 of those in the opening half. At halftime of the boys game, Wolfenbarger was honored for scoring her 1,000th career point, which came in the win against Greenwood. Senior Jazz Coleman also hit double figures in Friday’s win for Northside, as Coleman had 11 points....

1/11/2020

Fort Smith Southside High School News

No one likes playing games more than Southside coach Stewart Adams. But the first-year boys coach was happy to be in the lab last week preparing for the brutal stretch of games in the 6A-Central. “We needed it,” Adams said. “After the Coke Classic, it’s kind of a good time of the year to evaluate your team and figure out if this is what we want to do the rest of conference.” The Mavericks (5-9) open 6A-Central play Friday on the road against 10-2 Conway. The Mavs travel to Cabot (10-3) Tuesday and return home Jan. 17 to play 8-3 North Little Rock. Adams is hopeful the rest will give the Mavericks an edge heading into league play. “I know a lot of teams scheduled games in-between (Christmas tournaments), but we had a few injuries in the Coke Classic where we needed to get healthy,” he said. “We haven’t had our lineup since the Van Buren game.” When healthy, the Mavericks’ starting five includes leading scorer Mykale Franks at the point and Dawsyn Smith and Elijah York at the off-guard position. Smith, in particular, was a key loss during the Coke Classic. He missed time after sustaining a concussion during the first half of the Mavericks’ loss to the Pointers. “He had like eight points in the first half of that game,” Adams said. “Without him, and some other guys, we were able to take a look at some players who may be able to help us.” Inexperience, depth and Division I players notwithstanding, the Mavericks will do their best, Adams said, to shake up the league. “You start looking at film on these guys; you’re trying to find the easy one (to beat) — there’s not one,” the coach said. “There are no average teams. Probably four or five teams in our conference are capable of winning the state championship.” That group includes Northside, Adams said. “Northside finished fourth (6A-Central) and ended up winning the state title,” he said. “We know what we’re up against.” Southside girls coach Robert Brunk said the Mavericks are still not close to being 100 percent healthy. “Sadly, no,” he said. Brunk, the first-year girls coach, said the team is without three starters who have started at one point or another this season. He added he hopes to get everyone back before the end of the season. The Mavericks have lost all 12 of their games this season and 39 straight over two-plus seasons....

1/10/2020

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