Central Arkansas Christian’s Lady Mustangs will try this week to improve on their 2016 finish in the Danny and Dandra Thomas Invitational at Conway.
Steve Quattlebaum’s team, which was 6-0 heading into Tuesday’s game with Episcopal Collegiate, will meet Little Rock Parkview, the 2017 Class 5A State runner-up, in Thursday’s 7 p.m. opening round.
Jacksonville and Hot Springs will open the tournament at Buzz Bolding Arena on Thursday at 5:30. That winner will get Conway in Friday’s 8 p.m. Friday semifinal. The CAC-Parkview survivor will get Germantown (Tenn.) in the 6:30 p.m. semi.
First-round losers will face each other Friday at 5. The tournament will conclude Saturday with consolation games at 2 and 3:30 p.m. and the championship at 5.
At press time, Parkview was 4-2, having lost to Marion and Conway. The Lady Patriots had beaten Little Rock McClellan, Vilonia, Little Rock Central (by 44-43 in four OTs) and Little Rock Mills.
“They’ve got a couple of players back,” Quattlebaum said of the Parkview team that lost to Watson Chapel in the state championship game last season. “I don’t know a whole lot about them except from what we’ve played in the past, but they are really athletic; they play really hard; they’ll be well coached.
“We’ll have our work cut out for us. They’ll be real physical on the boards. They do all the things well that we don’t do well.”
He said he didn’t know much about Germantown, but Conway and Hot Springs would be good. Conway went to the quarterfinals of Class 7A; Hot Springs went that far in Class 5A.
“It’s a good tournament and a good field,” Quattlebaum said. “We’ll get some good games over there.”
Last year, CAC beat Little Rock Hall in the opening round, 71-24; lost to North Little Rock in the semifinals, 64-43; and knocked off Mount St. Mary in the third-place game, 45-29. North Little Rock beat Conway for the championship.
Last week, the Lady Mustangs came off Thanksgiving break with a 50-point shellacking of Mayflower, 71-21.
“We shot the ball really well,” Quattlebaum said. “We made nine 3s, which we don’t normally do.”
CAC led by 26-7 after one quarter, 50-15 at halftime and 65-20 after three quarters. UConn signee Christyn Williams hit three treys en route to a 24-point performance in less than a half. Hannah-Claire Haughaboo scored 15 points, including three 3s. Bethany Dillard hit two treys en route to 14 points.