FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) - In the Girls 7A State tournament, everyone is hoping for the same thing, according to Van Buren head coach Chris Bryant. "Some good fortune, and two good nights of basketball.
The top two 7A-West schools, Fayetteville and Van Buren, have another challenge to contend with; a first round bye.
Fayetteville coach Vic Rimmer says 'This is gonna be a long week for us, having to wait all the way until Friday to play."
For Rimmer, that extra time leads to some extra thoughts about what's to come.
"Not that you're looking forward, but as you look at a bracket, you look at what the road's gonna be."
The players get more specific. Van Buren senior Hallie Jennen says "I'm actually hoping it will be Northside, 'cause they beat us last year and we hope to do the same to them."
Van Buren, the two seed, boosts their confidence with their pregame mindset, says their coach. "I think they go into every game believing they have an opportunity to win, regardless of who we're playing or where we're at."
Fayetteville, a one seed, stays grounded. "Any team can be beat at any point in time," says senior Lauren Holmes. "We can do our absolute best, and then another team can do their absolute best. A lot of teams in the tournament are hard teams."
That mindset has carried the Bulldogs to an 18 game win streak, and they expect to have a target on their backs in the tournament. "It's a lot of fun because we know that everyone's gonna be coming for us," says Maya Mayberry.
Fayetteville is the only current 7A-West school with a state title since 1955, and their seniors draw on that experience. "Since we know what it feels like, we kind of push everyone so we can get that again," says Holmes. "When all the juniors and sophomores and our freshmen, they're always, most of the time they're nervous about it, but we just gotta tell them that it's gonna be alright and we just stay positive throughout it all,"adds Mayberry.
All the anticipation comes to a head this week, and in the end, says Coach Bryant, it's pretty simple. "It'll all come down to defense and rebounding, like any game that means anything."