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Even though Northside didn’t play on Tuesday night, the Lady Bears came out big winners nevertheless. That’s because Conway, which trailed the Lady Bears by a game for the 6A-Central lead, was defeated at home by North Little Rock in a game which took three overtimes to decide a winner. So that meant if the Lady Bears were able to win at Little Rock Central on Wednesday, they would have a two-game lead in the conference with five games to go. Northside did just that, winning 64-31 in a game which was pushed back from Tuesday due to a flu outbreak on Central’s campus. “I thought we played really well on the road Wednesday at Central, considering all the circumstances,” Northside coach Rickey Smith said. “We didn’t shoot it very well, but the kids played hard, they shared the basketball. “They understand their roles and they’re making that extra pass, so from a coach’s perspective, I was very proud of their effort.” The Lady Bears had three players in double figures in Wednesday’s win. Jersey Wolfenbarger led the way with 15 points, while Haitiana Releford added 11 points while grabbing five rebounds. Northside also got 11 points from senior Quineisha Tillery, who went 5-of-8 from the field. “Q played really well,” Smith said. “She came off the bench and scored quickly off of post-work play and then had two steals at the free-throw line area and took it the length of the court and scored lay-ups. ... She played well and I was very proud of her effort.” The Lady Bears (20-3), winners of 15 straight games, also move to 9-0 in the 6A-Central, two games in front of both Conway and Cabot. North Little Rock and Bryant are tied for fourth place with 5-4 records. Northside’s Grizzlies finished off the sweep on Wednesday, rebounding from last Friday’s rough loss at Bryant and putting together a solid performance in a 77-58 win at Central. The Grizzlies led 17-15 after one quarter before outscoring the Tigers in the second quarter, 19-9, to build a 36-24 halftime lead. Northside then led 52-35 after three quarters. Four players hit double figures for the Grizzlies, led by Jaylin Williams, who had 20 points and 15 rebounds. He went 7-of-13 from the field and 5-of-6 from the foul line, as the Grizzlies went 23-of-28 in that category. Noah Gordon added 16 points in going 5-of-7 from the field and 4-of-4 from the line. He also had six rebounds and made two 3's. Jacob Joe added 14 points, going 7-of-8 from the foul line. Braylin McKinley had a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds, seven of those coming on the offensive glass as the Grizzlies out-rebounded the Tigers, 33-16. Northside (17-6, 7-2) remained in second place, two games back of league leader North Little Rock. On Friday, the Lady Bears and Grizzlies return back to Kaundart-Grizzly Fieldhouse for Homecoming. The Lady Bears will face Mount St. Mary, while the Grizzlies take on Little Rock Catholic....

2/14/2020

Jaylin Williams made certain that Fort Smith Northside's latest trip to Central Arkansas turned out much better than its last. The senior forward poured in 20 points, grabbed 16 rebounds, handed out 5 assists and blocked 2 shots to help the Grizzlies wear down Little Rock Central 77-58 on Wednesday night at Boone-Fitzpatrick Fieldhouse in Little Rock. Three other players finished with at least 10 points for Northside (17-6, 7-2 6A-Central), which rebounded from a 23-point blowout loss at Bryant in its last outing by manhandling Central. "I was glad to see the guys bounce back," Northside Coach Eric Burnett said. "I haven't gotten embarrassed like that in a long time, probably five or six years. [Bryant] gets all the credit for that because they came out and kicked our butts from start to finish. "But I think that kind of woke us up a little bit because we did a lot better, especially on the defensive end." The Grizzlies bore down on the Tigers after Central hit 5 of 7 three-pointers in the first five minutes of play and led 15-9 lead following a 21-footer from senior guard Jeremiah Jones with 3:01 to go in the first quarter. Northside, though, didn't give up much the remainder of the half. The Tigers missed their next eight shots and didn't score again until junior guard Corey Camper hit a free throw with 4:49 left before halftime. Northside, in turn, outscored Central 19-0 during that nearly seven-minute spell to create a double-digit lead. "We were able to play our game," Burnett said. "Central did scare me at first when they came out and hit those threes, though. I was like 'what are we gonna do when they're hitting them from deep like that'. "But we stayed with it, went man-to-man and started limiting those shots." Senior guard Noah Gordon scored 16 points and junior guard Jacob Joe had 14 for the Grizzlies, who shot 24 of 50 (48%) and doubled up the Tigers on the boards, 32-16. Senior forward Braylin McKinley added 13 points, 11 rebounds and 3 steals. Sophomore guard Cody Robinson had 22 points, including six three-pointers, and Jones finished with 16 points for Central (11-11, 4-5), which went 19 of 45 (42.2%) from the field. Senior Johnnie White added 8 points, 7 rebounds and 4 blocks. The Tigers, who trailed 36-24 at halftime, got their deficit down to 40-30 in the early stages of the third quarter after a short jumper from senior forward Kiyler Hudson. But back-to-back turnovers allowed the Grizzlies to run off eight points in a row, with Williams scoring the first six, and establish an 18-point cushion. Northside's lead swelled to as big as 26 points in the fourth before a late ran by Central closed the gap. GIRLS FORT SMITH NORTHSIDE 64, LITTLE ROCK CENTRAL 31 A 23-0 run spanning nearly 13 minutes paved the way for an easy 33-point rout for Fort Smith Northside (20-3, 9-0 6A-Central). Junior guard Jersey Wolfenbarger finished with 15 points, 5 rebounds and 5 blocks for the Lady Bears, who have won 15 games in a row. Senior forward Qunishia Tillery and sophomore forward Haitiana Releford had 11 points points each for Northside. The Lady Bears, who'd beaten Central 56-26 on Jan. 14, were tied 5-5 with the Lady Tigers early before a three-pointer from Tillery started a 23-point run. Central (6-12, 2-9) didn't score again until Lauryn Pendleton's bucket with 2:29 left in the half. By that time, the Tigers were in a 21-point hole, and they never seriously threatened from there. Pendleton finished with 21 points, while senior guard Jordyn Head had 7 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals....

2/13/2020

Northside’s Grizzlies will have to wait another night to bounce back from last Friday’s shocking defeat at Bryant. Both the games at Little Rock Central for the Lady Bears and Grizzlies, originally scheduled for Tuesday, have been pushed back to Wednesday night due to a flu outbreak at Central’s campus. For the Grizzlies, that means an additional wait to return to the court on the heels of a 67-44 loss to Bryant on Friday to begin the second half of 6A-Central play. The Hornets built a 16-9 lead at the end of the first quarter before going up by 15 points at halftime, 32-17. “I know (the second half of conference play was going to be challenging), but I just didn’t expect us to come out and give up all of those points and get beat by 23,” Northside coach Eric Burnett said. “And I hope that woke us up, because that was embarrassing to sit right there and watch us play no defense. “Sometimes, games like that can wake us up or wake your team up. Hopefully, that will wake us up and we move forward and go back to playing really good defense like we used to because I felt like in each ballgame, we struggled at times during the game but there was one thing I felt like we brought every game and that was good defense. ... For us to come out like we did on Friday night, I wasn’t too pleased with that.” Burnett added he was going to stress defense when the Grizzlies returned to practice on Monday. And now that he has another day to get ready to go on the road again, it will give Burnett even more time to make some adjustments before Wednesday’s trip. “They probably want to get out there and play, but the situation (at Central) is we can’t, and so it will eventually have to give us a really good extra day to get prepared for Central, so (the extra day) is good,” Burnett said. Despite Friday’s loss, Northside (16-6, 6-2) still remains in sole possession of second place in the 6A-Central, but the Grizzlies are now two games back of league leader North Little Rock. NLR defeated Central on Friday, 78-64. Central (11-10, 4-4) is part of a three-way tie for fourth in the conference along with Bryant and Cabot. The Grizzlies beat Central 63-44 on Jan. 14 at Northside, but Burnett knows things won’t be easy in the rematch. Last season at Central, Northside needed a buzzer-beating shot from Noah Gordon to escape with a win. “Any time you can go steal a game on the road, it’s great,” Burnett said. “You just try not to lose any at your home; take care of your home, and try to steal as many as you can on the road and this is one of those games where hopefully we understand that and we go down there ready to try to get us one on the road.” Senior forward Jaylin Williams had another double-double in Friday’s loss, scoring 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He remains the team’s leader in both categories (19.1 points and 12 rebounds per game). Gordon and Jacob Joe are tied for second in scoring at 7.5 points a game. On the girls side, the Lady Bears remain in control atop the 6A-Central following Friday’s 56-41 win at Bryant, as Northside (19-3, 8-0) extended its current win streak to 14 straight. The Lady Bears, who led 27-17 at halftime and 45-34 after three quarters, was led by 24 points from Jersey Wolfenbarger and 11 from Tracey Bershers. Both also grabbed five rebounds apiece, and Wolfenbarger made all five of her free-throw attempts. Haitiana Releford nearly had a double-double with nine points and 11 boards. She also made two 3-pointers while recording three assists and three steals. On the season, Wolfenbarger continues to lead the Lady Bears in scoring, averaging 18.9 points a game, followed by Bershers (15.8) and Releford (9.9). Releford is the team’s top rebounder with 7.1 boards per game, followed by Wolfenbarger (6.8) and Bershers (6.5). Northside’s teams return home this Friday, with the Lady Bears taking on Mount St. Mary while the Grizzlies face Little Rock Catholic. As for Southside, both the Mavericks and Lady Mavericks are at home again on Tuesday, this time to take on Cabot. Both Southside teams are still seeking its first win in conference play after being swept at home last Friday against Conway. Cabot’s girls come in at 18-3 overall and are in third place in the 6A-Central at 6-2, two games back of Northside for first place and a game behind second-place Conway. The Cabot Panthers, meanwhile, are part of a three-way tie for fourth in the conference at 4-4 and the Panthers are also 14-7 overall....

2/11/2020

The Northside Lady Bears ran their current winning streak to 14 straight games as they started the second half of 6A-Central play with a 56-41 win Friday at Bryant. Northside (19-3, 8-0), which continues to lead the conference, took a 16-12 lead after the first quarter before stretching it to 27-17 at halftime. The Lady Bears also led 45-34 after three. Jersey Wolfenbarger led the Lady Bears with 22 points, 16 of those coming in the second half. Tracey Bershers added 11 for Northside. The Lady Bears are on the road again Tuesday, traveling to face Little Rock Central. Bryant 67, Northside 44 BOYS — The Grizzlies were defeated in a 6A-Central road game Friday, falling to Bryant. Northside trailed 16-9 at the end of the first quarter and also fell behind 32-17 at halftime. The Grizzlies (16-6, 6-2) were held to just three 3-point baskets for the game, two of those coming from Jaylin Williams. Williams did end up with another double-double as he had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Northside goes to Little Rock Central on Tuesday before returning back home next Friday to face Little Rock Catholic....

2/9/2020

Northside will be on the road for five of its seven remaining conference games, including the rematch against Southside at UAFS later this month. The Lady Bears (18-3, 7-0), who have won 13 straight ballgames, remain in first place in the conference, a game ahead of Conway. Bryant (12-7, 4-3) comes in at fourth in conference play. As for the Grizzlies (16-5), they stand in second place in the 6A-Central at 6-1, a game back of first place North Little Rock. Friday’s trip to Bryant also gives Northside a sneak peak of what to expect at the 6A State Tournament, as Bryant will serve as the host site for the state tourney. Northside will be on the road again Tuesday at Little Rock Central....

2/7/2020

At the midway point of the 6A-Central conference schedule, Northside’s basketball teams are in contention for league titles. The Lady Bears went through the first half of 6A-Central play unscathed as they lead the conference with a perfect 7-0 record. The Grizzlies, meanwhile, went 6-1 with their lone loss coming to North Little Rock, which currently leads the 6A-Central at 7-0. But the road will undoubtedly be a challenging one for both the Lady Bears and the Grizzlies in the second half of conference play, beginning on Friday. Northside will have to make four road trips in its next six games. For the Lady Bears, that means having to go to the three teams ranked right behind them in the standings in second-place Conway (6-1), third-place Cabot (5-2) and fourth-place Bryant (4-3), which will host Northside this Friday. “We’ve got a tough road to hoe ahead of us, and our kids know that,” Lady Bear coach Rickey Smith said following his team’s 56-27 win last Friday against Southside. “We got a chance to play a lot of other kids (Friday), they got a little bit of game experience under the big lights and they were a little nervous, but that’s part of it. “I’m proud of our girls, proud of our team. We did what we wanted to do, get a double-digit win and get the 10 points for our conference and finish the first half of the round-robin 7-0.” Smith added he is glad that the Lady Bears (18-3 overall) are off on Tuesday, giving them time to rest while allowing a few of the players to heal up from injuries. ?(It’s come at a) great time, a great time,” Smith said. “We’ve practiced every weekend since probably Thanksgiving maybe; we’ve played tournaments all the way through. ... So we’ve given them (the weekend) off, give them Tuesday off, trying to get our kids healthy again and make a run at the next seven basketball games and the state tournament but I like our team; we’re capable of doing a lot of different things.” Like Smith, Grizzly coach Eric Burnett is also grateful to have this Tuesday off as his team gets set for a slew of road games. Northside (16-5 overall) will play the teams ranked third through sixth in the conference all on the road. Currently, Conway and Little Rock Central are tied for third at 4-3, followed by Cabot and Bryant, in a tie for fifth place with 3-4 records. ?(The break) comes at a real good time,” Burnett said after last Friday’s 77-58 win against Southside. “That way, I can let my big guys get a little rest, we’ve got a couple of people sick right now and let them kind of get healthy before we go to Bryant next Friday. ?(Playing in the second half of the 6A-Central) will be no different, just like the first half. The first half was tough, and the second half is probably going to be even tougher and we’re going to have to step up and be focused every ballgame, because we’re going to start coming down the stretch and everybody’s going to be jockeying for position.” Like Northside, Southside’s teams are also off on Tuesday. Both the Mavericks and Lady Mavericks, each of whom are seeking their first win in conference play, resume action this Friday at home against Conway....

2/4/2020

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