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

FREE PHOTO GALLERY: 2A State Championship

VIDEO CLIPS: Melbourne Quitman

MELBOURNE POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE (By Billy Smallwood)

QUITMAN POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE (By Billy Smallwood)

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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

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Hamilton signs with Lyon Cheer

Heber Springs’ Gentry Hamilton is all smiles after signing with Lyon College at a ceremony before the “Black-Out” Pep Rally. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

February 14, 2020

Heber Springs senior Gentry Hamilton is following in her big sister’s footsteps after signing with Lyon College’s Cheer and Dance in ceremony in the old gymnasium.

Hamilton’s sister, Lawson, was a cheerleader at the Batesville school and it was no-brainer for her to want to attend the college.

“My sister cheered for Lyon about five years ago, so I already knew the program well,” Hamilton said. “I really like that it is a small school and it’s all intimate. I like that and I feel like I’ll get to know everyone a lot quicker.”

It will help that several of her classmates will be attending Lyon College, including basketball standout Libby Stutts.

Hamilton is also a catcher for the Heber Springs softball team.

“She is probably going to be my roommate,” Hamilton said.

The senior, who is also the starting catcher on the softball team, has been cheering for seven years and received a Trustee’s Scholarship to the private college.

“I am pretty excited about it,” Hamilton said.

The daughter of Lance and Kellie Hamilton, Gentry plans on majoring in biology and going into marine biology after that.

Jennifer Arnold is the cheer coach for the NAIA school in Batesville.

PHOTO GALLERY: https://philip-seaton.pixpa.com/site/heber-springs-gentry-hamilton-signing-with-lyon-college-cheer-and-dance

VIDEO COURTESY OF DAN HOLLOWELL

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“Black-Out” Pep Rally held at HSHS

February 14, 2020

The Heber Springs High School cheerleaders and dance team held a “Black-out” Pep Rally in the old gym on the campus of Heber Springs High School. PHILIP SEATON PHOTOS

VIDEOS COURTESY OF DAN HOLLOWELL

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Heber Springs 7th-Graders fall to Southside Batesville

Heber Springs’ Weston Warden looks for running room in the second half of a 26-8 loss at Southside Batesville. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

October 24, 2019

SOUTHSIDE BATESVILLE – Heber Springs fell to 4-3 on the season with a 26-8 setback to Southside Batesville in seventh-grade football action.

The Panthers trailed 12-0 before getting a touchdown at the first-half buzzer when Liam Buffalo connected with Bryce Seigrest for an 8-yard score. Buffalo ran in the 2-point conversion to make it 12-8 at the half. Heber Springs got the scoring opportunity after Weston Warden picked off a Southerner pass attempt and returned deep into Southside territory.

Heber Springs had a late touchdown run by Harper Jones called back because of a holding penalty as Southside outscored the Panthers 14-0 in the second half.

Heber Springs will close it out its season on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Panther Stadium against Riverview. The Panthers will be playing for a winning record.

PANTHER TOUCHDOWN AND 2-POINT CONVERSION

Video by Billy Smallwood

OTHER PANTHER VIDEO CLIPS

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