Basketball has retuned to Sylvan Hills, at least girls’ basketball has returned.
Coach Shelly Davis has a plethora of youth on her team. Of the 11 players that are members of the Lady Bears’ team, six are sophomores.
That’s a good thing, but can be bad as well.
"We don’t have a lot of experience," Davis said.
She did bring her current sophomores up as ninth graders to dress out for their lone state tournament game last year, a loss to Huntsville that saw Sylvan Hills fall behind 28-0 in the first half.
Davis admits that she brought the then freshmen up to give them a taste of what the state tournament would be like. However, she didn’t realize how bad the taste would be.
With that embarrassment behind her, Davis and the Lady Bears took the floor on Tuesday against Newport and got 10 points each from Ashton Neazley and Sara Beckwith in a 44-36 win over the Lady Greyhounds.
"We didn’t play too well early," Davis said, "but glad we got a win."
Davis said with her small, young group that wins will be at a premium.
"Every win is a stepping stone," Davis said.
The league is tough once again. The 5A-Central will have the usual suspects fighting for hardware including Pulaski Academy and Little Rock Christian.
But Davis has already seen the Jacksonville Lady Red Devils, who are the defending 5A champs after beating Paragould in the finals last spring. The Lady Bears played them in a preseason jamboree and won.
That gives Lady Bears’ fans room for optimism in a team that seems to continue to rebuild. If the Lady Bears can stay healthy and keep away from discipline issues, they could surprise some teams.
Maybe they can redeem themselves from one of their most embarrassing moments.