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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Eagles relying on depth

  • Over the past three seasons, West Side relied heavily on guard Bryce Hipp and power forward Ben Hargrove for scoring, rebounding and team leadership. They graduated along with guard Jacob Miller, leaving the Eagles hoping to put together a mix of talented newcomers for another winning season.
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  • Over the past three seasons, West Side relied heavily on guard Bryce Hipp and power forward Ben Hargrove for scoring, rebounding and team leadership. They graduated along with guard Jacob Miller, leaving the Eagles hoping to put together a mix of talented newcomers for another winning season.
    Junior point guard Blaine Hipp and junior forward Dalton Treece are the lone returning starters from a team that finished 21-13 and came up seven points short of the state tournament, falling to eventual 1A runner-up Wonderview in the first round of the regional tournament.
    “All 10 seniors that graduated last year played roles,” said West Side Coach Shane Davis. “Jacob Miller, Bryce Hipp and Ben Hargrove supplied over half of our scoring and rebounding they will be very hard to replace.”
    A slew of talented juniors and sophomores give West Side hope of staying in the thick of the 1A-2 South Conference race. “We have several juniors that didn't play much last year and four sophomores that will make an immediate impact,” said Davis. “The juniors include Payden Stewart, Jake Lawson and Jake Whitehurst. The sophomores include Kyle Heathscott, Gage Hewitt, Randon Carlton and Hayden Moore. All four were a part of a conference and district runner-up [junior high] team that finished 19-7. We have some seniors I also expect to play bigger roles including Jake Nicholson, Sheldon Baxter, Brandon Bridges and Craig Carlton.”
    West Side is utilizing team camps to develop its young players. The Eagles traveled to a team camp at Shirley earlier in the summer, and competed at Rose Bud this week.
    “We've had a good summer thus far we've had several boys putting in the extra work in the gym and have played several games this year. I think they are going to be a good group to coach and a fun team to watch over the course of the next 7-8 months,” said Davis.
    Hipp, Dalton Treece, Heathscott, Randon Carlton, Lawson and Mason Treece figure to play prominent roles along with transfer power forward Sheldon Baker, who displayed toughness in the paint at the Rose Bud team camp.
    The conference, which was dominated by state champion Concord the past three years, is up for grabs with a young Shirley team coming in as a possible favorite. The Blue Devils edged Heber Springs at Rose Bud team camp. Heber turned around and defeated West Side, 46-41, later in the day.
    “We are down to seven again in conference with the loss of Midland and most of them lost several starters and key players. But I don't think anyone will be head and shoulder better than the rest,” said Davis. “I look for it to be a dogfight for positioning all year. We will be a very competitive conference this year with very few to no nights off.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Breaking down the Eagles
    Ball handlers-“Our primary ball handlers will be Pepper, Brandon Bridges (came back to West Side after spending last two years at Wynne), Randon Carlton, Kyle Heathscott and Jake Lawson,” said Davis.
    Shooters-“Hopefully we shoot the ball from the outside at a higher clip this year. We shot 31 percent from 3-point range last year,” said Davis. “Hipp, Hewitt, Dalton Treece, Heathscott, Bridges and Craig Carlton are probably our most consistent outside shooters.”
    Posts players: “Baxter, Mason Treece, Brandon Carr, Jake Nicholson and hopefully Tanner Sawrie, who is coming off injury, will play a lot in the four and five spots for us,” said Davis.
    Defensive: “Hopefully we will have several of these guys step up,” said Davis. “Our success really depends on our team defense and it's going to take all five on the floor working, talking and finishing defensive possessions off by getting the rebound for us to be in the mix in the end.”
    Slashers: “Jake Lawson, Pepper, Heathscott, Hewitt, Carlton, and Dalton Treece will be the ones we are looking to score a lot off the bounce.”
    Best on ball defenders: “I would say it would be Pepper (Hipp) at this point. We asked him to guard the other team's best a lot last year and probably will again this year,” added Davis.
    Best inside defense: Mason Treece, Baxter, and Carr will be counted on to defend the inside for us.”

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