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Class 6A Arkansas high school girls basketball preview

Eight teams to watch in Arkansas 6A prep girls basketball this season

By Kyle Sutherland  

With the start of a new season, SBLive is previewing Arkansas high school basketball. Today, we feature eight teams to watch from the girls ranks of Class 6A. Over the coming weeks there will be features for each classification as well as player position lists. 

Head over to the website for complete coverage and standings throughout the season. You can also listen to our weekly podcast, Arkansas Prep X-Tra, for even more in-depth coverage. 

BENTONVILLE TIGERS

Head Coach: Tom Halbmaier

Conference: 6A-West

2021-22 Finish: 19-8, 6A state quarterfinalist

Notable Departures

Nadia Akbar | John Brown University signee

Jada Brown | all-state, all-state tournament, Vanderbilt signee

Allison Disheroon

Abby Sweat

Players To Watch

G Ella Campbell 5-9 SR | all-state, Rockhurst (Mo.) University signee

G Hailey Hill 5-9 JR

G Anna Lee Kulka 5-5 JR

G Arden Lewis 5-8 JR

G Cambrie Phillips 5-8 SO

F Olivia Rustad 5-9 SR

F Sam Rhuda 5-10 SR

G Abbey Kate Sanders 5-9 SR | John Brown University commit

Outlook

After an impressive run through the 6A-West, the Lady Tigers now shift their focus to duplicating that as well as a lengthier stay in the state tournament. Coach Halbmaier welcomes back a host of senior experience led by Campbell and Sanders, as well as a junior class that has earned plenty of valuable minutes.

Coach Said

“The kids have been working hard and are extremely coachable. Their ceiling is awfully high with the way they practice, the way they compete every day and it makes my job a lot more enjoyable.”

-Tom Halbmaier

BRYANT HORNETS

Head Coach: Shanae Williams

Conference: 6A-Central

2021-22 Finish: 17-10, 6A state quarterfinalist

Notable Departures

Parris Atkins | all-state, all-state tournament, Central Arkansas signee

Players To Watch

F Landiss Brewer 5-8 SO

G Eryn Carter 5-5 SO

G Natalie Edmonson 5-9 Sr

G Brilynn Findley 5-8 JR

F Lauren Lain 5-10 SR

F Emileigh Muse 6-0 SR

G Austyn Oholendt 5-7 SO

G Skylar Percy 5-5 SO

Outlook

Four starters return in Williams’ first year as the Lady Hornets look to keep making progress after winning seven of their final 10 games. Edmonson, Lain, and Muse are seniors who provide quality depth, along with Findley - whose college attention continues to soar. Bryant will face challenging competition in the Bryant Classic including Marion and defending 4A champion Nashville before 6A-Central gauntlet play begins.

Coach Said

“Being my first year here, I’m excited to watch how much we grow as a team and adapt to a new system. I’m looking forward to the style of play that we will bring to the game. We will be an experienced group with some talent off the bench.”

-Shanae Williams

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CABOT PANTHERS

Head Coach: Jay Cook

Conference: 6A-Central

2021-22 Finish: 16-13, 6A state quarterfinalist

Players To Watch

G Jaycie Cook 5-6 JR

G Jenna Cook 5-6 JR

F Brenlee Leonard 6-0 SR

G Carly Madar 5-9 SR

G Blyss Miller 5-6 JR

G Laylah Reese 5-9 SR | all-state tournament

G Samantha Taylor 5-4 SR

Outlook

Injuries, inexperience, and lack of size hindered the Lady Panthers a year ago and while they still may not have an abundance of size, there is plenty to look forward to having learned from the adversity. They welcome back every key contributor, with Leonard and Reese providing the most length, while the Cook twins could end up being one of the better backcourts in the conference after having successful sophomore campaigns.

Coach Said

“With the bulk of our core players returning, experience should lend itself to improvement in all areas. An overall lack of size could be a challenge on some nights and the always strong 6A-Central will be, as always, tough each and every night.”

-Jay Cook

CONWAY WAMPUS CATS

Head Coach: Ashley Hutchcraft

Conference: 6A-Central

2021-22 Finish: 28-2, 6A state quarterfinalist

Notable Departures

Kalayna King

Jaiden Thomas | all-state, Louisiana Tech signee

Players To Watch

G Kaidyn Beckwith 5-5 SR

G Emerie Bohanon 5-7 SO

G Kamille Brown 5-8 SR

G Chloe Clardy 5-9 SR | all-state, all-state tournament, Stanford signee, SBLive Arkansas Player of the Year

G Alexis Cox 5-10 SO

G Samyah Jordan 5-8 SO

F Savannah Scott 6-4 SR | all-state, Auburn signee

Outlook

With how last season ended, one would be naive to believe the Lady Wampus Cats are not as motivated as they have ever been. They are loaded with two Power 5 signees in Clardy and Scott, and are a nationally ranked team. Along with the multiple prestigious non-conference tournaments it will take part in, Conway will get premier national exposure in January on ESPNU.

Coach Said

“We will be looking to our four seniors for leadership on and off the floor. With one of our toughest non-conference schedules in school history, we hope to be prepared for the always tough 6A-Central Conference.”

-Ashley Hutchcraft

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FORT SMITH NORTHSIDE LADY BEARS

Head Coach: Rickey Smith

Conference: 6A-West

2021-22 Finish: 24-7, 6A state runner-up

Notable Departures

Ashya Harris | Northeastern State (Okla.) signee

Haitiana Releford | all-state, all-state tournament, Connors State signee

Khamille Warr | Crowder Community College signee

Khassidy Warr | Crowder Community College signee

Players To Watch

G/F Cherish Blackmon 5-11 SO

F Dakya Foster 6-5 JR

G Erianna Gooden 5-11 SO | all-state tournament

G Erikka Gooden 5-11 SO

F Karys Washington 5-11 SR

Outlook

The Lady Bears have a reputation of continuously reloading under Coach Smith. That is what they will be doing again after graduating four starters and making yet another appearance in the state finals. Washington will provide the senior guidance tasked with leading a hyped sophomore class, and history shows that Northside will be right back in it when it is all said and done.

Coach Said

“We are a very young, athletic team. We feel like our team will continually improve throughout the season. We have an outstanding sophomore class.”

-Rickey Smith

HAR-BER WILDCATS

Head Coach: Kimberly Jenkins

Conference: 6A-West

2021-22 Finish: 22-5, 6A state semifinalist

Notable Departures

Caylan Koons | all-state, all-state tournament

Maddux McCrackin

Players To Watch

G Galatia Andrew 5-4 SR | Rockhurst (Mo.) University signee

F Mary Blake Martfield 5-9 SR

G Pacious McDaniel 5-9 SR | all-state

F Lex Plascensia 5-10 JR

G Delaney Roller 5-9 JR

Outlook

The Lady Wildcats are feeling confident after completing an undefeated run through the 6A-West. They lost a major contributor in Koons, but everyone else returns led by McDaniel and Roller who will play at the next level. Up against a rugged non-conference schedule, Har-Ber will once again be a force as they look to duplicate last year and take it another step further to Hot Springs.

Coach Said

“Our returning starters will need to lead an otherwise inexperienced varsity team. We are hoping to see some growth from our other returners as well as the added energy of a big class of sophomores. Our team pace along with the individual abilities of several players on the offensive end should lend to fun basketball. While on the defensive end, we hope to disrupt with a connected team effort.”

-Kimberly Jenkins

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LITTLE ROCK CENTRAL TIGERS

Head Coach: Marlon Williams

Conference: 6A-Central

2021-22 Finish: 21-10, 6A state semifinalist

Notable Departures

Lillian Jackson | Tyler (Texas) Community College signee

Players To Watch

G Kiaya Davis 5-9 JR

G Taylor Day-Davis 5-10 SO

G/F Silondra Ingraham 5-9 SR

G Ashlyn Kimble 5-2 JR

G/F Jordan Marshall 6-0 JR | all-state, all-state tournament

G Alivia Montgomery 5-4 JR

F Aven Sasser 6-2 JR

G Ky Wilson 5-9 SO

Outlook

The Lady Tigers sent shockwaves across Arkansas when they took down Conway in the state quarterfinals, a team they struggled mightily against in the previous two meetings. They return everyone led by Marshall and also added a sensational sophomore in Lonoke transfer Wilson, which will make the 6A-Central even tougher.

Coach Said

“Our team has gained valuable experience with last year’s state tournament run which helps improve overall depth.”

-Marlon Williams

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NORTH LITTLE ROCK CHARGING WILDCATS

Head Coach: Daryl Fimple

Conference: 6A-Central

2021-22 Finish: 28-4, 6A state champion

Notable Departures

Destine Duckworth | all-state, all-state tournament, University of Southern Illinois-Edwardsville signee

Kyriana Jones | Mississippi Valley State signee

Jasirae Vick | Itwamba (Miss.) Community College signee

Amauri Williams | all-state, all-state tournament Most Valuable Player, Vanderbilt signee

Players To Watch

F Ja’mya Brown 5-11 SR

G Zizi Cooper 5-0 SR

G Sania Delgado 5-9 JR

G April Edwards 5-9 SR

F Ceriah Evans 6-3 SR

G Garin Freeman 5-5 SR

G Katie Fimple 5-4 FR

F Madison Hatley 6-0 JR

G Sakiya Hicks 5-3 SR

G Jocelyn Tate 5-10 JR

Outlook

Daryl Fimple earned his fifth state title with North Little Rock a season ago, adding another feather in the cap to one of the better programs in Arkansas. Four college signees have departed and passed the baton to another heralded group who have waited for their chance and are ready to lead. Six returning players - Brown, Edwards, Freeman, Hatley, Hicks, and Tate - all return with valuable minutes under their belt.

Coach Said

“(We have a) Very versatile roster that can score and defend many different ways. Lots of veteran leadership, played in a lot of big games. Have a very demanding schedule as always. Should be right in the thick of things.”

-Daryl Fimple

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