When the North Little Rock Lady Charging Wildcats compete in the 7A state title game Thursday, they are meeting a familiar foe in conference mate Conway Lady Wampus Cats.
The two teams have similar factors when they meet in the 2:30 p.m. title tilt at the Bank of the Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs. North Little Rock (25-4) and Conway (27-3) only have in-state losses to each other and Fort Smith Northside. Also, the last time they were both in the state championship game, they lost and were runner-up. Two years ago, the Lady Wildcats defeated Conway, 75-65 in overtime, to win the 7A state title. Last year, North Little Rock lost to Fayetteville, 59-49, after falling behind early and having to play catchup.
“We talked about that after the Central game,” North Little Rock Coach Daryl Fimple said. “We are so excited to get back, but last year we were also excited to be there. We have to not just be excited to be there. This is third time we’ve been to the state finals, and the seniors have unfinished business.”
North Little Rock advanced to the title game with a 62-46 victory over Springdale and a 77-38 triumph over Little Rock Central, which was the fourth time this year the Lady Wildcats defeated Central. The Lady Tigers tried to make the contest a half-court game, but North Little Rock picked up the pace and made it a full-court contest.
“We played like we were waiting to play all year,” Fimple said. “We played with intensity, worked hard and shared the basketball.”
Conway advanced to the title game with 60-38 win over Van Buren and a 54-43 victory over Northside. During the regular season, North Little Rock last at home to Conway, 69-64, but defeated the Lady Wampus Cats on their court, 72-68.
“With the styles, it should be a fun game,” Fimple said. “We aren’t worried about their stuff and trying to stop it. They do what they do, and it is always fun.”
Against Springdale, senior Amber Hawkison led the Lady Wildcats with 22 points, junior De’myla Brown added 15 points and senior Yo’Myris Morris chipped in 10 points. In the Central game, Morris recorded a double-double with 15 points and 20 rebounds. Brown was the leading scorer with 21 points and Hawkison contributed 12.