The Mulberry girls senior class has always been one step behind the talented class of 2013. But this year’s Lady Jackets can accomplish something that team did not last year by winning a first-round Class A State Tournament game when they face Mt. Vernon-Enola Saturday at 1 p.m.
The tournament starts today at North Arkansas College in Harrison.
"People always told them they weren’t as good as last year’s team going back to junior high," Mulberry coach Adam Carlton said. "Maybe they aren’t as talented, but they have a lot of heart. They have always taken that as a challenge."
Last year, Mulberry got delayed in the regional tournament and ended up having to play three straight days, hop on a bus and make a one-day-turnaround to open the state tournament. They fell flat in a disappointing loss.
This year, Mulberry lost, 48-46 in the regional on Saturday and thanks to a two-day weather delay will have had six full days to rest and recover for Saturday’s game. Mulberry trailed for as many 10 points against Kingston, rallied to take a two-point lead before falling short.
"We were a little down because most of the time when we had the lead this year we were able to hold on to it," Carlton said. "But it was good to be able to come back and have a little practice and rest after we played three games in four days in regional."
In the boys bracket, Scranton (36-1) takes a No.1 seed after winning regionals with a 45-40 win against Western Grove.
Seth Sibenmorgan and Connor Robey have been the Rockets top scorers and third guard Corey White had a strong regional tournament. Scranton plays KIPP Delta today at 2:30 p.m. the first boys game of the tournament.
"They are a tough 4 seed, they have a 6-foot-8 inch kid, a 6-5 and a 6-4 so they give us some matchup problems with their size," Scranton coach James Robey said. "Our strength is discipline, ball-handling and good shooting. We just have to maintain our discipline and keep control of the game and not let them take advantage of their athleticism."
Also in the boys bracket, County Line (29-7) has a No. 3 and will play Saturday at 5:30 p.m. against Southside Bee Branch.