AAA releases COVID-19 basketball guidelines

2020-21 Arkansas Activities Association COVID-19 Basketball Guidelines 

In accordance with the Directives Regarding Large Outdoor Venues/Large Indoor Venue Plans for School Sponsored Team Sports, all athletic events must follow the requirements linked below.

DIRECTIVES FOR LARGE OUTDOOR/INDOOR VENUE PLANS

Facility Modifications

  • Family groups must be spaced 6 feet apart. 
  • Have a separate entrance and exit point for facilities to avoid congestion and aid in social distancing.
  • Create and display COVID-19 information signage throughout the venue.
  • Use tape, paint, and signage within the bleachers and around the facility to mark areas where spectators may gather to maintain social distancing. Specify where spectators and participants may sit.
  • Everyone inside the facility is required to wear a mask at all times, except players that are actively participating. 
  • Appropriate social distancing must be maintained on sidelines and benches during contests and events. Bench personnel must sit with a minimum distance of 6 feet apart and must be separated from the audience by a minimum of 12 feet. 
  • Appropriate locker room space should be provided to officials for social distancing (i.e. larger room or separate rooms). The space(s) must be sanitized prior to arrival.
  • Each player should use their own towel and water bottle to avoid sharing.

Modifications to Regular Season 

  • BENEFIT GAMES – will only be allowed between two teams. 
  • NO MULTI SCHOOL EVENTS IN OR OUT OF STATE – such as tournaments, classics, showcases, etc. This does not preclude two schools junior and senior high teams participating at a venue. 
  • NUMBER OF COMPETITIVE EVENTS:
    • Non Football schools are allowed:
      • 34 high school varsity games 
      • 28 junior high school varsity games
    • Football schools are allowed
      • 26 high school varsity games
      • 24 junior high school varsity games
  • Junior varsity limitations remain the same as listed in the 2020-2021 AAA Handbook for high school and junior high school (except no tournament)
  • Save the last week before the regional tournament for 1A-4A schools and the last week before the state tournament for 5A-6A schools for a conference tournament if needed. 

Return to Competition

  1. Basketball Rules Considerations
  • Pregame Protocol (2019-2021 NFHS Officials Manual, page 16, 1.8
    • Limit attendees to the referee and the head coach from each team with each coach standing on the center circle on each side of the division line.
  • All individuals maintain a social distance of 6 feet or greater at the center circle.
  • Suspend handshakes prior to and following the Pregame Conference.
  • Team Benches (1-13-1) Includes: Coaches, players, and managers
    • Social distancing should be practiced when possible. Below are some suggestions.
      • Limit the number of bench personnel to observe social distancing of 6 feet or greater.  
      • Consider limiting game rosters to 15 students.
      • Additional chairs or rows may be added to allow bench personnel to observe social distancing of 6 feet or greater. 
      • Create separation by a minimum of 12 feet between the team bench and spectator seating behind the bench.
      • Limit contact between players when substituting.
      • Personnel not in the game shall wear face coverings. 
  • Officials Table (2-1-3)
    • The host should sanitize the table before the game and at half time.
    • Place officials table sufficiently away from the sideline to allow for additional space for substitutes.
    • Limit seats at the table to essential personnel which includes home team scorer and timer with a recommended distance of 6 feet or greater between individuals. Other personnel (visiting scorer, statisticians, media, etc.) may not be deemed essential personnel and consider an alternate location for them.  
    • Table personnel shall wear face covering.
  1. Pre- and Post-Game Ceremony
  • Suspend the pregame introduction handshakes.
  • Suspend post game protocol of shaking hands. 
  1. Basketball Rules Interpretations
  • Equipment and Accessories
    • Sanitizer should be provided by the host team at the table.
    • Cloth face coverings are permissible for players.
  • Officials Uniform and Equipment
    • Long-sleeved shirts are permissible. 
    • Officials should not be required to wear jackets during pregame court/player observation.
    • Electronic whistles are permissible (supplies are limited). 
      • Choose a whistle whose tone will carry inside.
      • Check the market for choices                              
    • Cloth face coverings are permissible.
    • Gloves are permissible.
  1.  Other Considerations
  • Throw-in
  • Officials may stand 6 feet or greater away from a player making the throw-in and bounce the ball to that player on a front court throw-in.
  • Free Throw Administration 
  • The lead official shall stand on the end line and bounce the ball to the free thrower.

Time Out

Coaches should limit the number of individuals in huddles during time outs.

Bramlett ready to take over Heber Springs hoops

April 28, 2020

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

Scott Bramlett remains ready to take the reins of the Heber Springs High School boys’ basketball program.

Scott Bramlett

The Corona 19 virus prevents Bramlett from meeting his players in person or conducting workouts, but he’s excited about the opportunity of returning to basketball.

Bramlett, who recently completed his third year with the district, was named head coach at a recent Heber Springs school board meeting. He had been an assistant football coach and the head baseball coach. Before coming to Heber Springs, Bramlett coached basketball two years at Augusta.

“I always hope to get back in coaching basketball and baseball,” he said. “I was glad to become head baseball coach last year. I never thought the opportunity to coach basketball would come this soon.”

Bramlett replaces Chad Johnson, who coached the past two seasons when the Panthers were 9-43. Johnson remains a classroom teacher at the high school.

“When they offered the job to me, I took a weekend to think about,” Bramlett said. “I didn’t want to jump right into the job. “I didn’t take the job lightly. I wrote down the pros and cons before making my decision.”

Bramlett will assist Dusty West with the junior high school boys’ basketball program and coached the seventh grade team. West will be Bramlett’s assistant for the high school team and also remains head softball coach.

“I worked with a lot of good coaches and talked with them before making the decision,” Bramlett said. “I want to become more a part in the community, along with the program. I want the players to become not just good basketball players, but learn how to become good men.”

Bramlett said it will be a clean slate for all players. He plans to take a similar apporach to the basketball program as he did with the baseball. The Panthers were 2-1 under Bramlett before the season was cancelled by Covid 19.

“I don’t know of any specific changes for next year, but every change will be to help the program become more successful,” he said. “I know some kids are walking the halls at the school who need to play basketball. “They make not have played basketball in the past, but I want to give them an opportunity to play.”

Bramlett is looking forward to coaching the players in person.

“I talked with some of the returning players on the phone and got a good response,” he said. “I coached a lot of those players in other sports and we know each other. They know they my passion for athletics and that I want the best for them.”

Bramlett said he will decide once the players get on the court of what style of player is best for the players.

“I want to put the players in the best position to win,” he said. “I prefer playing man-to-man defense, but we will play some zone. I like playing with patience on offense, but the players will dictate that.”

Bramlett said he hopes to increase the number of players on the roster and put a competitive team on the court.

“We will work as hard as any team,” he said. “The players will become more involve with the community and create an atmosphere that people want to be a part of. I believe we can cause the same excitement like the fans do for  football.”

Bramlett said he also agrees with other coaches that athletes should participate in more than one sport.

“All of the coaches are in agreement with that,” he said. “We want the best for our athletes and our teams.”

2A State Title Game: Quitman vs. Melbourne

March 12, 2020

2A STATE FINALS COVERAGE SPONSORED BY 

GAME STORY: Melbourne wins back-to-back titles

QUITMAN: Shooting woes cost Bulldogs in title game

MELBOURNE: Back-to-Back titles for the Bearkatz

VIDEO CLIPS: Melbourne Quitman

MELBOURNE POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE (By Billy Smallwood)

QUITMAN POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE (By Billy Smallwood)

Shooting woes cost Bulldogs in title game

The Quitman Lady Bulldogs pose with the state runner-up trophy on Thursday in Hot Springs. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

March 12, 2020

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

HOT SPRINGS — One of Quitman’s major strengths — outside shooting — didn’t materialize in the Class 2A girls’ state tournament basketball game at the Bank  OZK Arena Thursday.

The Lady Bulldogs made 10-of-43 shots (23.3 percent), 2-of-18 3-pointers (11.1 percent), in the 47-28 loss to Melbourne.

2A STATE FINALS COVERAGE SPONSORED BY 

Quitman started the game by hitting 4-of-20 (1-of-9 3-pointers) during the first half. Hooten voiced concerned earlier this week of Melbourne’s height affecting his team’s shooting efficiency.

“We didn’t shoot up to our capability,” he said. “Maybe, it was the bright lights, but Melbourne needs to be credited from sticking with us. We had a lot of shooting difficulty. Melbourne’s size affected us. They always had a hand in our face.”

Quitman’s Lucy Holland. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

Senior post Lucy Holland led the Lady Bulldogs with 14 points and all of the team’s points during the first quarter. Holland made 5-of-14 shots (1-of-2 3-pointers) and had seven rebounds.

Players also dealt with the possibility of cancellation of the game because of the COVIDA-19 virus and suspension of spring sports by the Arkansas Activities Association until March 30.

“We found out right before the game that the virus may cancel softball and track and field,” Holland said. “We knew this may be our last chance to play. That helped to motivate us, but we tried not to think about it much. The possibility of not playing again also gave us motivation to play until the final second.”

A majority of the players also play softball and won back-to-back state championships. They also are the nucleus of the track and field team that competes at a high level.

But basketball was the No. 1 concern during the game. Holland did yoeman work on the boards with five of her seven rebounds on the defensive end.

The taller Lady Bearkatz held a 31-28 rebounding advantage against Quitman.

“Even if you are smaller, you can’t be thinking that way,” she said. “You can’t think that way when going up against someone taller. It may be a disadvantage, but it can be an advantage for your teammates. You can pass out to one of the guards on the perimeter.”

The Quitman seniors, from left, Haley Trawick, Gracie Smith, Lanny Goff, Autumn Johnson, Erin Stephens, Lucy Holland, Halle Bennett, and Carson Rackley. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

Holland also talked about not changing her shot, even against a taller opponent.

“You can’t alter your shot because you get off rhythm,” he said. “You have to keep doing what you want to do.”

The seniors compiled a 126-18 record, four conference and regional championships and three state final appearances.

“We hope the program’s success continues,” Hooten said. “These girls set the bar very high. We don’t say we are rebuilding, but reloading. We intend to be back here (to state final) next year.”

‘Katz bite ‘Dogs for 2A championship

Melbourne wins back-t0-back titles with win over Quitman
Quitman’s Autumn Johnson walks off the floor at the end of the 2A senior girls championship game. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

March 12, 2020

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

HOT SPRINGS — Melbourne’s height advantage and a tenacious full-court press defense proved too much for the Quitman Lady Bulldogs to overcome at Bank OZK Arena Thursday.

Quitman (30-4) never recovered from the second quarter and lost to defending champion Melbourne 47-28 in the Class 2A state basketball championship game.

2A STATE FINALS COVERAGE SPONSORED BY 

“We had an outstanding season,” Quitman coach Tim Hooten said. “We played a team with outstanding height and speed. We still won 30 games and kept the streak of five consecutive conference and regional championships going.”

The Lady Bulldogs stayed close during the first quarter, but Melbourne pulled away by outscoring Quitman 26-9 in the second quarter. Lucy Holland scored all of Quitman’s points during the opening quarter and finished with 14 points.

Quitman’s Erin Stephens looks to drive past Melbourne’s Kylee Humphries. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

Melbourne (34-2) outscored the Lady Bulldogs 16-14 during the second half.

“We did a good job defending them during the first quarter,” Hooten said. “We took away the things from them we wanted to take way. The full-court press hurt us in the second quarter. We never recovered from the second quarter.”

Melbourne coach Eric Teague said winning back-to-back state championships was not easy.

“We started the season with a different group of players and didn’t know what was going to happen,” he said. “They trusted the coaches and each other.”

Jenna Lawrence led Melbourne with 11 points and blocked seven shots.

“Both teams were nervous at the beginning of the game,” Teague said. “We needed to let game come to us in the first quarter. I told them between quarters they hadn’t played well and they need to pick up their play. Our full-court press and by making 3-pointers helped us to the lead in the second quarter. We did a better job of challenging Quitman.”

Melbourne’s Josie Roark goes up for a shot against Quitman’s Carson Rackley. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

Holland became the first player to score as she drove, drew a foul and made the shot with 3:54 left in the first quarter. She sank the free throw to complete the three-point play.

Kenley McCarn and Dani Hardaway answered by making 3-pointers and Melbourne never trailed again. Holland hit 2-of-2 free throws as the Lady Bearkatz led 6-5 going into the second quarter.

McCaron started the second quarter by making a 3-pointer. Holland kept Quitman close by making 2-of-2 free throws, reducing Melbourne’s lead to 10-9. The Lady Bearkatz broke the game open on a 22-5 scoring run and built a 32-14 halftime lead.

Melbourne’s Kenley McCarn was named the state finals MVP. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

Melbourne increased its lead to 44-21 by the end of the third quarter.

“We felt a target on our back this year after winning it last season,” Teague said. “Every team gave us everything they had. We kept getting better and I knew it would help us to get back to the state final. That was one of the big differences against Quitman.”

Melbourne lost back-to-back games to Bentonville and Classen SAS from Oklahoma City, the second-ranked team in that state, in late December. Teague said that was a turning point for his team.

“Those experiences taught them to listen and trust more,” Teague said. “We lost to two good teams and learned our weaknesses.”

CLASS 2A SENIOR GIRLS STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
QUITMAN VS. MELBOURNE
March 12, 2020
at Bank OZK Arena, Hot Springs
Quitman (30-4)   5  9 7  7 - 28
Melbourne (34-2) 6 26 12 3 - 47
QUITMAN SCORING (28): Lucy Holland 14, Taylor Hooten 6, Halle Bennett 5, Autumn Johnson 3.
MELBOURNE SCORING (47): Jenna Lawrence 11, Kenley McCarn 8, Dani Hardaway 8, Kiley Webb 6, Halle Weaver 6, Josie Roark 5, Kylee Humphries 3.
QUITMAN STATISTICS: Autumn Johnson 2 rebounds; Halle Bennett 4 rebounds, 3 steals; Taylor Hooten 3 rebounds, 1 rebound, 1 steal; Lucy Holland 7 rebounds; 4 rebounds; Carson Rackley 1 assist, 1 blocked shot, 1 steal; Erin Stephens 1 rebound, 1 steal; Gracie Smith 1 rebound; Haley Trawick 2 rebounds.
MELBOURNE STATISTICS: Kiley Webb 3 rebounds, 1 assist; Dani Hardaway 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals; Josie Roark 5 rebounds, 1 assist; Jenna Lawrence 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 7 blocked shots, 1 steal; Kenley McCarn 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals; Halle Weaver 1 rebound, 1 blocked shot.  

Back-to-Back titles for Bearkatz

March 12, 2020

By PHILIP SEATON

HOT SPRINGS — Could the Melbourne Bearkatz senior girls basketball team win four state titles in a row?

That question was posed to Melbourne coach Eric Teague shortly after his team won its second consecutive 2A state title on Thursday with a 47-28 victory at Bank of OZK Arena.

2A STATE FINALS COVERAGE SPONSORED BY 

Normally that might seem like a far-fetched question, considering that Teague’s team hasn’t “three-peated” yet, but looking at the Bearkatz roster it is not hard to imagine that Melbourne might be able to accomplish that rare feat — the last senior girls team to do that was Fort Smith Northside from 1999-2002.

“It’s possible,” Teague said. “Anything’s possible. Maybe that will help us for next year.”

The Bearkatz coach said his team already has the experience having the “target on our backs.”

“I am sure these kids can tell you … every team we played they gave us everything they had,” Teague said. “I think that’s what put us over the top at the end of the year. We faced so much adversity with teams coming in during the first quarter, the first half giving everything they had. Our kids just kept getting better and they would absorb everything that those other teams brought at them; and I really think that was the difference tonight.”

Melbourne started one senior, two juniors, a sophomore and a freshman.

NICE MOVE: Melbourne’s last state tournament loss came on March 3, 2018 with a 63-40 setback in the 3A state tournament semifinals in Monticello. Since then the Arkansas Activities Association re-adjusted the conferences eliminating the 7A in all sports, except football, and moving some schools down for sports other than football — for example, Melbourne competes in class 3A for football and 2A in other sports.

Since that move the Bearkatz have gone 64-6 with two state titles.

MVP: Melbourne’s Kenley McCarn was named the game’s most valuable player. The sophomore, daughter of Melbourne football coach Kevin McCarn, finished with eight points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

“This year I think we all knew we were going to have to step up more often,” McCarn said in comparing the 2019 title with the won on Thursday. “We did everything as a team. Our points were even across the board and that really helps. “

Teauge played eight off his 15-player roster with seven of those scoring.

Melbourne freshman Jenna Lawrence drives to the basket against Quitman’s Lucy Holland. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

FRESHMAN: Ninth-grader Jenna Lawrence paced the Melbourne with 11 points. The 6-foot-2 post player also finished with seven blocked shots and tied for the team lead with two assists.

TOUGH DECEMBER: Melbourne only lost two games all season and both of those losses came one-week apart in December.

The first loss came to 6A Bentonville, the top-ranked team in the state, on December 21 with a 55-31 setback in the Malik Monk Nike Holiday Classic in Bentonville. One week later in the semifinals of the Pine and White Classic Tournament in Springfield, Missouri, the second-ranked team in Oklahoma, Classen SAS High School of Oklahoma City, defeated Melbourne, 62-40.

“I learned how tough they were,” Melbourne coach Eric Teague said. “That experience allowed them to open up, listen to me a little more and trust me, because we got wore out a couple of times, to really good teams.

“I did that on purpose. I wanted us to open our eyes and see ‘what are our weaknesses?’ ‘how good are we?’ I really think that helped us to start building the blocks to get here because we understood … we weren’t playing as a team.”

The Bearkatz closed the season by winning their final 24 games.

‘Katz versus Dogs for 2A title

Quitman, Melbourne to tangle in Hot Springs for championship
Quitman senior Autumn Johnson looks drive to the basketball against Earle on Saturday in the 2A semifinals at Quitman. The Bulldogs will face Melbourne today in Hot Springs for the 2A state title. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

March 12, 2020

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

QUITMAN — Playing for the Class 2A state championship is becoming  an almost every year event for the Quitman Lady Bulldogs.

The Lady Bulldogs, who advanced for the third time in the last four seasons, will play defending state champion Melbourne at 6 p.m. Thursday in the state final at the Bank OZK Arena.

Quitman (30-3) defeated Hector in the 2017 final and lost to Earle in 2018. Melbourne (33-2) won last year’s championship with a win against Riverside.

“This will be different from last week as we must wait almost a week to play,” Lady Bulldog coach Tim Hooten said. “Sometimes, it’s anticlimactic,  but we have to build back to last week’s level of play.”

Quitman lost to Melbourne 59-43 in November, but Hooten said that game will not affect Thursday’s matchup.

“We are aware of how good Melbourne’s posts are and they are two players deep at all five positions,” Hooten said. “We have quickness and speed, and hope to take advantage of it. We are a different team and not look back at the last time we played Melbourne. Records are meaningless now. It’s a one-game season.”


Melbourne’s Josie Roark

Sophomore Kenlee McCarn is one of the Melbourne players to watch, along with Jenna Lawrence. Kiley Webb runs the show at point guard. Josie Roark and Halle Weaver round out the starters.

“There is a lot of excitement,” Melbourne head coach Eric Teague said when asked about the atmosphere since Saturday’s semifinal win against Des Arc. “Winning the state tournament last year was exciting. It has been a tough year and we got every team’s best shot. We are excited about Thursday’s (today) game against Quitman.”

Melbourne has won 23 consecutive games with the last loss to  Classen SAS from Oklahoma City in December. The Lady Bearkatz’ other loss came to Class 6A Bentonville, also in December. Melbourne averages 59 points a game and held opponents to 37 points.

“Defense is the strongest part of our team,” Hooten said. “We will use a full-court press and try and not let them get down the floor easily. We don’t have the size to battle inside. We will rely on  our speed and quickness.”

Teague expects a tough game and hopes playing for the second straight year in the state final will benefit the Lady Bearkatz.

“We hope to be more settled than last year,” he said. “Quitman has a great team and is the hottest team right now in Class 2A.”

Quitman, which has won five regional tournament titles, will put a nine-game winning streak on the line. The Lady Bulldogs’ last loss came at home to Mount Vernon-Enola. Quitman lost to Melbourne and Mountain View in November.

Who wins the 2A Girls State Title

  • Melbourne (57%, 4 Votes)
  • Quitman (43%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 7

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Senior guards Autumn Johnson and Halle Bennett start on the perimeter, with sophomore Taylor Hooten at point guard. Seniors Lucy Holland and Carson Rackley are the posts.

Holland said the team is confident and the earlier loss to Melbourne was forgotten a long time ago.

“You can’t go into a game scare about what happened last time,” she said. “Every game is new. “Our past state tournament experience will help because we know what it is like to win and also know what it is like to lose it. The nerves will still be there, but we don’t want to lose again.”

Rackley also agreed that the Lady Bulldogs will be ready for the matchup against Melbourne.

“I didn’t even score in that game and expect to play better,” she said. “Playing Melbourne once helped in preparation, but the disadvantage for them is we won’t play the same way as last time. We know what we must do to win.”

Quitman’s team average almost mirror Melbourne. The Lady Bulldogs average 60 points and held their opponents to 38 points.

Hooten said one of the keys for Quitman will be how effective it can make outside shots.

“We must have a good outside shooting game,” he said. “They are so big inside, but we are going have to score some on the inside. If we do that, it will help keep the game closer and puts us in position to win.”

Teague agreed that the game will be determined the outcome of Quitman’s speed against Melbourne’s size.

“We must protect the ball and not turn it over against Quitman’s fullcourt press,” he said. “We also must limited Quitman to one shot. We need to slow them down and not let them overwhelm us with their speed.”

Quitman won two championships in other sports last year, and Hooten hopes it carries over to the school’s second basketball title.

“These girls work to win in every sport,” he said. “We won the state cross country championship and the last two softball titles. Winning can become a habit. They know what it takes to win.”

CLASS 2A SENIOR GIRLS STATE CHAMPIONSHIP CAPSULE
QUITMAN (30-3) VS MELBOURNE (33-2)
WHEN: 6 p.m. tonight 
WHERE: at Bank OZK Arena in Hot Springs
TELEVISION: PBS (Statewide over the air, cable). Pregame 5:57 p.m. Tipoff 6:05 p.m.
RADIO: KABZ 103.7 "The Buzz: (Statewide). Listen Live Link
MELBOURNE BEARKATZ
STATE TITLES (2): 1973, 2019
COACH: Eric Teague
PROBABLE STARTERS: Guard Kenley McCarn (5-9, Sophomore), Guard Kiley Webb (5-3, Junior), Guard Josie Roark (5-6, Junior), Guard Halle Weaver (5-6, Junior) Forward Dani Hardaway (5-7, Senior) and/or Post Jenna Lawrence (6-2, Freshman)
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Melbourne downed Fordyce (67-27), Bigelow (54-38) and Des Arc (68-54) at 2A state tournament in Quitman to advance to finals  
BEARKATZ NOTES: Melbourne is the defending 2A state champion and on a 23-game winning streak ... Lost three key players off last season's championship team in seniors Halle Cooper and Shelby Morris, and 2019 state title game most valuable player Reagan Rapert, who transferred to Union, Missouri, for her junior season ... Melbourne defeated Quitman, 59-43, in the semifinals of the Clinton First Service Bank Tournament on November 21. The Bearkatz would defeat 6A Springdale Har-Ber for the title ... Melbourne's only losses this season were at Bentonville (55-31) on  December 21 and to Oklahoma City Classen SAS (62-40) on December 28 on a neutral floor ... The Bearkatz are 90-13 over the past three season (87.4 percent) and 39-2 in conference play over that same period ... Melbourne competes in 3A for football and 2A for other sports ... Melbourne also won the state overall title in 1973 (until that tournament was discontinued in 1992) ... Melbourne won both the 2A-3 conference and district titles ... has only two seniors on roster.
QUITMAN BULLDOGS
STATE TITLES (1): 2017
COACH: Tim Hooten
PROBABLE STARTERS: Guard Halle Bennett (5-4, Senior), Guard Autumn Johnson (5-4, Senior), Guard Taylor Hooten (5-3, Sophomore), Post Lucy Holland (5-8, Senior) and Post Carson Rackley (5-8, Senior) 
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Quitman defeated Hector (84-45), Marmaduke (71-37) and Earle (40-28) to punch ticket to today's title game. 
BULLDOG NOTES: Quitman is on a nine-game winning streak ... The Bulldogs only losses this season are at Mount Vernon-Enola (57-51) on February 11 to Mountain View (54-24) on November 22 and to Melbourne (59-43) on November 21 ... Quitman has eight seniors on the roster ... Quitman defeated Earle, 49-44, in the semifinals on its way to claiming the 2017 state title while the Bulldogs punched their ticket to the finals this season with a 40-28 win on Saturday, both of those wins came at Quitman ... Over the past five seasons, Quitman has won 88.8 percent of the games it has played. The Bulldogs have a record of 155-20 over that stretch, an average of 31 wins per season. They have also have a record of 61-2 in conference play over that same stretch, and won five district and five regional championships. On the biggest stage, the state tournament, Quitman is 12-3 in the state tournament with a state title in 2017 and a runner-up finish in 2018 ... The track team has also won a state championship in 2017, the cross country team has state titles in three consecutive seasons while the softball team is coming off back-to-back state titles ... Quitman competes in the 2A-5 North conference ... The Bulldogs are 2A members of all sports.

Quitman continues five-year run of dominance

Quitman senior Lanny Goff celebrates in the first half of the 2A state semifinal game on Saturday. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

March 11, 2020

By PHILIP SEATON

To say the Quitman girls basketball program is experiencing a run of success would be an understatement. 

Over the past five seasons, Quitman has won an eye-popping 88.8 percent of the games it has played. The Bulldogs have a record of 155-20 over that stretch, an average of 31 wins per season. 

They have also have a record of 61-2 in conference play over that stretch, and won five district and five regional championships. On the biggest stage, the state tournament, Quitman is 12-3 in the state tournament with a state title in 2017 and a runner-up finish in 2018.

The track team has also won a state championship in 2017, the cross country team has state titles in three consecutive seasons while the softball team is coming off back-to-back state titles.

“Six-years ago Quitman wasn’t even on the map as an athletic school,” Quitman coach Tim Hooten said. “Right now I think we are really making huge strides. 

“In cross country, we have won three championships in the past three years. We are going back to the finals and hopefully be in the position to bring home another basketball, but Melbourne will have a lot to say about that.” 

Hooten says that the championships build off each other.

“Our girls program is at the top level right now,” Hooten said.

EARLE: Quitman has faced Earle in the state tournament the past four seasons with the teams splitting four games. Last season, Earle ended Quitman’s season last year with a 70-58 setback in the 2A quarterfinals at Carlisle  and prevented the Bulldogs from repeating as state champions in 2018 with a 48-43 decision in the finals.  

Quitman coach Tim Hooten

Quitman defeated Earle, 49-44, in the semifinals on its way to claiming the 2017 state title while the Bulldogs punched their ticket to the finals this season with a 40-28 win on Saturday. Both of those wins came at Quitman.

“We knocked them out when we won it,” Hooten said on Saturday. “They got us the last two years. We had a lot to prove here to get back at them. We really wanted to redeem ourselves because we played horrible last year. We didn’t get shots we should have. Our defense was not as good as it was tonight. To hold Earle to 28 points, that’s a defensie accomplishment.”

RUBBER MATCH: Melbourne handed Quitman its first loss of the season back on November 21 with a 59-43 decision at the First Service Bank Classic in Clinton. Quitman would defeat the host in the third-place game while Melbourne would go on to beat 6A Springdale Har-Ber for the tournament title. “I think we are a totally different team now,” Hooten said.

PATH TO THE TITLE GAME: Quitman defeated Hector (84-45), Marmaduke (71-37) and Earle (40-28) in the semifinals while Melbourne downed Fordyce (67-27), Bigelow (54-38) and Des Arc (68-54) to punch its ticket to Hot Springs.

STATE CHAMPIONSHIP TICKETS: Fans may purchase tickets for the Class 2A girls’ state basketball tournament until 1 p.m. Thursday at Quitman High School. Quitman will play defending state champion Melbourne at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Hot Springs Convention Center. Cost is $8. Doors will open at 5 p.m.

COMMUNITY PEP RALLY/SEND-OFF:  A community pep rally will start at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in the old gym. The team will leave for Hot Springs around 3:15, according to the school’s Facebook page They will start at First Baptist Church and make their way through town around 3:15 p.m.

VIDEO: Final seconds and buzzer celebration