It’s that time of the year that brings special feelings and warm thoughts. No, not Christmas, at least, not yet.
The conference basketball schedule tips off Tuesday night for high school teams.
El Dorado will open 5A South play at White Hall. Parkers Chapel hosts Gurdon and Junction City hosts Ouachita in 2A 8 action with Strong hosting Emerson in 1A 8 and Smackover welcoming Drew Central to town for the 3A 8 opener.
The Lady Trojans are 4-3 overall but coming off back-to-back losses to Heber Springs and Centerpoint. Gurdon is 3-2 and will also be playing its league opener.
PC coach Justin Welch said his team is eager to shift gears into league play but understands the conference season is long with home-and-home series between seven teams.
“Obviously, every coach wants to get off to a great start when it comes to the conference season and I’m no exception to that rule. I want to get off to a good start; however, I don’t think that my group needs to put any unnecessary pressure on themselves going into this game,” said Welch. “We’ve been working really hard in practice to fix some issues that I’ve observed in our non-conference games so this is an opportunity for us to go out and execute a game plan and prove that we are getting better everyday in practice. I’m excited to see how my girls respond to a little adversity in the early stages of this long season. I believe that they will show up ready to play when Gurdon comes to our house because that’s what Lady Trojans do.”
The Lady Dragons (1-6) earned their first win last week over Smackover (40-38). Ouachita will be a big hurdle to start the conference with. The Lady Warriors are 10-3 on the season.
Likewise for Smackover, still looking for its first win, the Lady Bucks will take on a Drew Central team that’s gone 6-1 on the season. The Lady Pirates’ lone loss was to Perryville (36-25).
Meanwhile in Strong, the Lady Bulldogs have played the fewest games of any Union County team with a 1-1 record. Emerson, on the other hand, has a 7-5 record and a conference win over Nevada (59-31).
“I really hate that we are starting conference play this early, because we are only two games into the season and some of the other teams that don’t have football teams have already played six or seven games,” said Strong coach Melinda Champion. “We have been in the gym working on some things and hopefully our girls will be ready for (Tuesday’s) game. Getting off to a good start is very important especially against a team like Emerson. They are a really good ball team and if we can get this first win over them in conference it would be great.”
For the Lady Wildcats, the non-conference road was tough and finds them on a five-game skid against stiff competition. White Hall is 5-2 on the season with losses to Watson Chapel (48-44) and Hamburg (54-48).