Fayetteville Ready To Defend 7A State Crown Against Loaded Tournament Field

NORTH LITTLE ROCK (KFSM)-- The number one-ranked team in Arkansas and the reigning state champs Fayetteville is back vying for their eighth ring.

"Really valuable to have the kind of tradition that we have," said Fayetteville coach Vic Rimmer. "Of going and being and hanging around through the weekend."

But, this will arguably be the deepest 7A State tournament field ever.  With plenty of title contenders trying to knock off the Lady Bulldogs.

"There's been some years the 5A level has been the best classification in Arkansas," said Northside coach Rickey Smith. "There's been some years the 6A level has been the best class. I don't think there's any question that the 7A level is the deepest most talented class in the state."

One of those in contention is Northside, the Lady Bears are coming in with 24 wins and a youthful group of starters.

"Even them being so young they have a lot of experience," said Northside junior Sara Bershers. "I mean the sophomores are just outstanding, they hustle so hard."

Smith believes that his young group has gained plenty of experience this season.

"At this point we feel like our kids have had a complete year under their belts," said Smith. "So I can't really call them freshmen anymore."

Then there's Van Buren, who made it to the semis last year. The Lady Pointers are trying to work out the kinks to play their best basketball now.

"Boxing out is our main goal, executing on offense," said Van Buren senior Jamilyn Kinney. "We didn't score as many points as we wanted this year, but we are trying to figure it out getting some pieces here and there."

Starting this week past records and titles don't matter, everyone is coming in with a clean slate. All the teams know that anyone can go home, or be the final team standing.

"If we are good enough to win, we are good enough to win," said Smith." If we're not we'll shake the opponents hands and wish them good luck."

The 7A state tournament will be played Wednesday through Saturday at North Little Rock High School.