The 20th edition of the senior high Greers Ferry Lake Classic will begin this morning in Concord, with semifinal action set forn Thursday and championship games Friday evening. The Quitman Lady Bulldogs, who are defending champions of the tournament, received the number-one seed and a first-round bye, as did the Concord Pirates, who are trying to win the title for the first time since 2014.
#4 Rural Special vs. #5 West Side (Sr. Girls), 12:45 PM
The first girls game of the Classic will be between two 1A 2-South Conference foes, the fourth-seeded Rural Special Lady Rebels (13-6) and the fifth-seeded West Side Lady Eagles (12-7). The Lady Rebels will look to junior All-State guard Madison Kocher to do most of the heavy lifting. Despite a roster size of seven players, the Lady Eagles have managed to be competitive and receive contributions all around from their starting five, which includes the sophomore duo of Madison Bailey and Alex Southerland as well as the high-scoring backcourt of senior Ciara Roberson and junior Kaitlin Towell. In the last battle between these two teams, West Side traveled to Fox and came out with a 51-42 victory two weeks ago.
Shirley vs. West Side (Sr. Boys), 2:00 PM
The first boys game will pit the fourth-seeded Shirley Blue Devils (against fifth-seeded rival West Side (6-13). The Blue Devils are coming off a season that saw them go all the way to the state championship game in Hot Springs, falling to Guy-Perkins. Senior Michael Fuller will serve as an anchor for the team, using his size to haul in rebounds and score from down low. The Eagles have had an up and down season thus far, relying heavily on the play and leadership of seniors Joe Paul Freeland, Dawson Gardner, and Trent Bentley. Shirley came out victorious in the last game between the two in a 55-41 decision.
Concord vs. Nemo Vista (Sr. Girls), 3:15 PM
The third-seeded host Lady Pirates (14-4) will take on the sixth-seeded Lady Red Hawks (5-13) in the second girls game. Concord is reeling off a 2016-17 season that saw them win the district tournament before playing and winning their first ever state tournament game in Mt. Ida. Senior guard Kaleah Davis, who is arguably the 1A 2-South’s best player, comes into this matchup averaging 16.5 points per game, good for first in Class 1A and tenth in the entire state. Adding to Davis’ cause are the talented sophomore duo of Avery Southerland, Annalise Cornett, and Ashlyn Deckard. Nemo Vista has struggled in what has been a rebuilding period for the program since winning three consecutive Class 1A state championships from 2014 through 2016. This is the first matchup between these two squads this since taking on each other in the second round of the regional tournament last season.
Mt. Vernon-Enola vs. Nemo Vista (Sr. Boys), 4:30 PM
The second boys game will see a clash between Hawks as the third-seeded Mt. Vernon-Enola Warhawks (13-5) will duel the sixth-seeded Nemo Vista Red Hawks (5-14). The Warhawks are looking for a bounce-back season under first-year head coach Joshua Zarlingo after getting ousted in the district tournament, ending their 2017 postseason run. Senior duo Logan Adcock and Kanyin Martin will serve as the team’s go-to leaders. The Red Hawks come into the tournament as defending champions, knocking off Rose Bud 78-61 in the first round before edging out Shirley 45-42 in the semifinals, setting up a final with Concord that they would win, 57-46. Nemo Vista suffered a heart-breaking and season-ending 44-43 loss to Shirley in the first round of the regional tournament, falling just short of punching a ticket to the state tournament.
Mt. Vernon Enola vs. Shirley (Sr. Girls), 5:45
The final girls game will see the second-seeded Mt. Vernon-Enola Lady Warhawks (17-2) and seven-seeded Shirley Lady Blue Devils (4-15) square off. The Lady Warhawks look to capitalize on a 2017 campaign that included a historic postseason run all the way to the state semifinals, falling one possession short of the title game. Returning to lead MVE is senior Kyndal Hardy and junior Gracie Raby. The Lady Blue Devils are continuing to find their identity under new head coach Katelyn Lane after adding a sophomore class that finished last season as junior high district tournament runner-up’s.
Quitman vs. Rural Special (Sr. Boys), 7:00
The nightcap game of tonight’s action will be between the second-seeded Bulldogs (9-8) and the seventh-seeded Rebels (2-16). Senior forward Zack Heffentrager, who stands at 6-6, has been a threat from down low for the Bulldogs, with speedy sophomore guard Zach Shue serving as a scoring threat from any spot on the floor. Forward Hunter McClung and guards David Alvarez, Trey Lovelady, Parker Benton, and Isaac Clemmons all help fill out a Quitman squad that plays hard and competes well with nearly anyone they play. The Rebels have had a down season playing with a team that contains much youth, consisting of three seniors, four juniors and five sophomores.
The Top-Seeded Teams
The defending GFLC champion and top-seeded Quitman Lady Bulldogs (17-2) are hungry for more after collecting their first ever basketball state championship this past March, looking to reach the summit again on the shoulders of cousins Rieley and Nicki Hooten, sisters Lucy and Lily Holland and Aspen and Autumn Johnson, as well as senior Savannah Henry, who participates in six different sports and stands as the most athletic player on the team. The Pirates, who finished runner-up in the Classic last season to Nemo Vista, are off to a strong 15-3 start, winners of their past thirteen games. Senior Ryan Brock comes into the tournament averaging 20.8 points per game, which is third in Class 1A and sixth overall in Arkansas. Following Brock is classmate Riley Cornett, who is contributing 15.0 points per game. Concord is looking for their first trip to the state tournament since 2015.
Full Schedule:
Wednesday, December 27
#4 Rural Special vs. #5 West Side, 12:45 (Sr. Girls)
#4 Shirley vs. #5 West Side, 2:00 (Sr. Boys)
#3 Concord vs. #6 Nemo Vista, 3:15 (Sr. Girls)
#3 Mt. Vernon-Enola vs. #6 Nemo Vista, 4:30 (Sr. Boys)
#2 Mt. Vernon-Enola vs. #7 Shirley, 5:45 (Sr. Girls)
#2 Quitman vs. #7 Rural Special, 7:00 (Sr. Boys)
Thursday, December 28
#1 Quitman vs. Rural/WSGF winner, 4:00 (Sr. Girls)
#1 Concord vs. Shirley/WSGF winner, 5:15 (Sr. Boys)
Concord/Nemo winner vs. MVE/Shirley winner, 6:30 (Sr. Girls)
MVE/Nemo winner vs. Quitman/Rural winner, 7:45 (Sr. Boys)
Friday, December 29
Sr. Girls Final, 6:00
Sr. Boys Final, 7:15