FORT SMITH (KFSM) - Not many things are guaranteed in sports but the Northside Lady Bears being in the state tournament is pretty close.
Rickey Smith's team has averaged 26 wins a season over the past 15 years and this year's team looks poised to make another run at the state title game, which would be their fifth straight. Despite starting the year 27-1, Smith said they are approaching things one game at a time.
"You have to feel good about the team, where they’re at," Smith said. "We lost one ball game and it’s by three points and shot 23 percent so you can’t find a lot to complain about but you still want to continue to improve and get better heading into the state tournament."
Northside has won at least 20 games in each of the past 17 seasons but this year's roster has plenty of new faces but they know the expectations that comes with the territory.
"That motivates me so much," Northside junior Aaliyah Jackson said. "Coming here my first year, I have the biggest goals just to win a state championship so that’s what I’m going to push for this year."
Find their groove took the Lady Bears a few weeks when the season began.
"We struggled a few games early this year because of the expectations and the pressure of playing at Northside High School and trying to be the best night in and night out," Smith said. "We take a lot of teams best shots. The opponent shoots the ball real well and they play very, very hard against us and that’s a compliment to the kids that have been here in the past and the success of the program."
Northside will be the No. 1 seed from the 7A-West when the state tournament begins on Wednesday at Springdale Har-Ber.