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By Kyle Sutherland I Photo by Karen Schwartz 

With the high school basketball season wrapping up, SBLive is looking at the best girls players in Arkansas. Today, we feature the top point guards for all classes. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list as there are hundreds of great basketball players in the state.

Important note on position: In today’s position-less era of basketball, it is very rare that teams list one starter at all five positions, and many players are fully interchangeable across positions. For example, depending on game or matchup situations, an athlete may play both guard spots, possibly a guard/forward role as a wing, or some have the talent to play all of the positions. Please use the comments section to discuss other standout players in Arkansas that you want to add.

Soon, you will have a chance to vote on who you think is the top girls point guard in the state.

Madelyn Atkins | Beebe | 5-9 | SR

The University of Denver signee has 1,000 career points to her name and has been named both all-conference and all-state every season she has competed in high school. As a combo guard, she is effective in both distributing the basketball as well as scoring it.

“Madelyn’s best qualities on the court are that she pushes herself to play hard, which makes others around her play harder,” Beebe head coach Greg Richey told 501 Life Magazine. “She works hard to make others around her better.”

Marlee Bright | Centerpoint | 5-6 | SR

Bright looks to lead the Lady Knights to a state championship after coming up just shy of a title last season. She is the team leader on a Knights team who are one of the top contenders in 3A once again this year.

“Marlee has been consistent in her leadership and has stepped up in her scoring role this season,” Centerpoint head coach John Bright said. “She is one of our leaders in regard to how we play.”

Jada Brown | Bentonville | 5-7 | SR

The Vanderbilt signee has had he torch passed as the team leader this year for the Lady Tigers with the departure of current Razorback Maryam Dauda. Brown scored 29 points in a 55-33 win over Berks Catholic in Orlando during a December contest in Orlando and has also received Player of the Week honors during this season.

Chloe Clardy | Conway | 5-9 | JR

Clardy is the top-rated player in Arkansas for the 2023 cycle and 40th in the country per ESPN HoopGurlz rankings and has helped Conway to a No. 12 national ranking. She showed out on one of the biggest stages in December’s Sandra Meadows Classic putting up 38 points in a close loss to national powerhouse Duncanville (Texas) High School.

Jenna Cook | Cabot | 5-7 | SO

A young, but gritty, Panthers squad has made the brutal 6A-West even tougher, and as the team’s point guard Cook who is averaging 10.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game. She does much more than what will show up on the stat sheet as one of the team’s best on ball defenders.

“Jenna’s passion and competitive spirit are contagious,” Cabot head coach Jay Cook said. “Playing point guard in the 6A Central night in and out is a tremendous challenge for any player but she has shown she is more than capable of leading and producing for her team.”

Ashauni Corley | Episcopal | 5-7 | JR

Corley is a fierce competitor on the defensive end but is also a playmaker on offense averaging around 13 points per game as described by Episcopal Coach Micah Marsh. She recently put up 18 points in a 63-36 victory over CAC in the district championship final.

“Sunnie is very crafty offensively,” Marsh said. “She gives us a spark with her offensive skills.”

Carson DeFries | Paragould | 5-6 | SR

Three-pointer or mid-range floater, DeFries just gets it in the basket however it needs to be done and has a motor that is always running. She has been a key performer for the Lady Rams this year after averaging 13.9 points per game as a junior and is near the top of the list of best currently unsigned seniors.

Carson Dillard | Farmington | 5-7 | SR

The Southwestern Oklahoma State University signee has led the Lady Cardinals to one of the top teams in Class 4A after a runner-up finish in the state tournament last year. She leads the team in three pointers averaging over 14 points per game.

“Carson can score at all three levels and is impacting the game on both ends of the floor,” head coach Brad Johnson said.

Brilynn Findley | Bryant | 5-7 | SO

Findley played a big role in Bryant’s victory over then-No 3 Fort Smith Northside scoring 15 points to go with 6 rebounds and 3 steals. She was also named the Dairy Queen Player of the game following an all-around solid performance in a win over Southwest finishing with 12 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, and 5 steals.

“Brilynn is having a really good sophomore season.” Bryant head coach Brad Matthews said. “With each week that passes she is playing better and better. We are looking for big things as we are in the second round of our conference.”

April Edwards | North Little Rock | 5-9 | JR

Edwards is a key piece of one of the top teams in the state playing primarily one of the guard positions but also can play as a wing. In a January 18th game against top-ranked Conway she led the Lady Charging Wildcats with 18 points along with 10 against Fort Smith Northside, eight of those coming in the first half.

Ellie Ford | Rector | 5-6 | SR

Ford has extremely consistent for the Lady Cougars since her freshman year and is one of the most decorated players in school history. She has been All-everything from conference, region, state tournament, and has just added to that legacy in her senior year. She has led the Lady Cougars in scoring this year and is also one of the top scorers in school history.

Kloey Fullerton | Harding Academy | 5-5 | SO

To know the extent of Fullerton’s improvement you don’t have to look any further than her continued production as the season has progressed. She is averaging 12.6 points per game and hitting 37% of her shots from 3-point range but has increased that to 16.7 points per game and a very good 46% from deep in conference play. She also averaged just over 12 points per game as a freshman last season.

“Kloey can really handle the ball and score it well,” Lady Wildcats head coach Rusty Garner said. “Her development over the last year and a half is a reflection of her growing confidence. She has a great motor and just continues to improve every day.”

Ereauna Hardaway | Jonesboro | 5-5 | 2022

Hardaway was last year’s Class 5A state Tournament MVP and will continue her basketball career at North Texas. She averaged 14 points and six assists for the Lady Hurricane last season and was also named to the Arkansas Sports Media Super Team. Hardaway is one of those who could put up 20-plus points in a night, but also could come out the next game and collect 10-plus assists setting up her teammates for shots.

Ginny Higginbotham | Lake Hamilton | 5-8 | 2022

Some sports fans do not like the term “glue guy/girl”, but Higginbotham fits it to a tee. Some of her teammates may have collected more statistics, but she has played a huge role in the Lady Wolves’ success this season taking charges while also taking a leadership role and also hitting 43% of her shots from 3-point range.

“She is one of the best on-court communicators I have ever coached,” Lady Wolves head coach Blake Condley said. “She tells her teammates thorough defensive assignments and directs traffic on offense as well as anyone.”

Maddi Holt | Bergman | 5-7 | 2023

The Lady Panthers are one of two unbeaten teams in Class 3A and Holt’s production this season has played a major part. She is already closing in on 1,800 career points and has had multiple game with over 35 points scored. She is also shooting an incredible 46.9% from 3-point range along with 90.5% from the charity stripe. On top of all that, she also has the Top 3 records for most consecutive free throws, two of which are from this season with streaks of 40 and 43.

Taylor Hooten | Quitman | 5-5 | SR

Hooten has been the floor general the past three seasons for an ultra-successful Lady Bulldogs team averaging around 16 points per game this season, including 30 in a late-November win over Wonderview. She has reached immense success as an athlete in all sports earning all-state in cross country, track, and volleyball.

Cheyenne Kemp | Morrilton | 5-8 | JR

Following a sensational sophomore season, Kemp has continued to get better and better. She plays both guard spots for the Lady Devil Dogs but is not afraid to post up or score in the paint.

“She is a dynamic player that is very unselfish and does what her team needs to win,” Morrilton Coach Carin McNabb said. “She’s a special kid who is only going to continue to improve.”

Ava Manor | Rogers | 5-6 | SO

As a sophomore heavily contributing in the state’s highest classification, Manor has averaged around 20 points per game this season for the Lady Mounties. She recently put up a double-double on a Top 10 Bentonville team with 15 points and 10 rebounds. To show her much she positively affects a game in so many areas, she had a double-double the week before that earning 10 assists.

AJ McCandlis | Viola | 5-7 | JR

McCandlis earned all-state honors as a sophomore leading the Lady Longhorns to a semifinal finish in the Class 1A state tournament. She has averaged 20.8 points, 6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 2.8 steal this year. In three years she has scored over 1500 points highlighted by an incredible 46-point performance leading Viola to a 62-59 overtime win against Izard County in the district tournament.

“AJ has had to score more off the dribble this year and has also had to look to create her own shot more than in the past,” Viola Coach Jason Hughes said. “She continues to see double and triple teams every night but has remained patient. She does a great job of getting her teammates involved in the game.”

Kenley McCarn | Melbourne | 5-10 | SR

One of the more decorated active athletes in all of Arkansas prep athletics, the UT-Martin signee has earned the Class 2A state tournament MVP the past two years and has been a part of the current-standing Lady Bearkatz state title three-peat. Per her coach Eric Teague, McCarn has had to adapt to opposing teams totally focused on stopping her, but she has done a great job of trusting her teammates and being patient.

“Kenley has really become a student of the game and understands what this team needs to be successful,” Teague said.

Alyssa McCarty | Gentry | 5-7 I JR

McCarty is a big reason why the Lady Pioneers are sitting in great position in Class 4A averaging 15 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals per game.

“Alyssa is one of the hardest workers I have ever coached,” Lady Pioneers Coach Toby Tevebaugh said. “She has a love for the game you don’t see as often these days and it is contagious to her teammates.”

Jianna Morris | Sylvan Hills | 5-7 | JR

Morris has already become a highly decorated athlete halfway through her junior year. She recently eclipsed 1,000 points for her career, broke a 32-year-old school record for points scored in a game with 36 against Parkview, and most importantly maintains a 4.2 GPA. She is the top-ranked student in her class and is on pace to be valedictorian.

“Jianna wants to lead her team to things that have never been accomplished at Sylvan Hills,” Lady Bears Coach Shelley Davis said. “She wants to leave her mark both in the classroom and on the court.”

Briley Pena | Nettleton | 5-5 | SR

Pena, who will continue her basketball career at Murray State, is already “one of Nettleton’s all-time greats” in coach Jason Smith’s eyes. She has been a key part of the team for her entire tenure, beginning as a sophomore helping the Lady Raiders win state and averaged 20.2 points per game as a junior in the rugged 5A East.

“Briley is a true gym rat who spends multiple hours a day perfecting her craft, Smith said. “

Haley Reed | Mountainburg | 5-4 | SR

Reed averaged 13 points per game as a junior and recently surpassed 1,000 career points on Feb.  8, which also marked  senior night. She has been the heartbeat of the Mountainburg squad and has received college interest including an offer from the University of the Ozarks.

Heidi Robinson | Marmaduke | SR

Robinson has been one of the most consistent players, not only in Northeast Arkansas, but in the state overall with over 2,500 career points. The Ouachita Baptist signee was named the 2A-3 Conference Player of the Year for the second straight season and dominated the 2A-3 district tournament putting up a double-double on Buffalo Island Central (21 points, 16 rebounds) and 33 points in the championship game against Rector.

Amelia Rogers | Lakeside | 5-7| SO

Rogers has burst onto the scene as one of the state’s most physical young players but has used this season to channel that aggression that will help on her overall game. She has averaged 11 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists per game for the Rams this season.

“Amelia is a very gifted athlete,” Lady Rams head coach Jay Williams said. “She has a motor that is non-stop and plays hard every possession. As a sophomore, she is doing a terrific job stepping into a leadership role, dictating the pace of the game, and becoming a ‘court general.’"

Alexis Rowe | Jacksonville | 5-10 | SR

The Delta State (Miss.) commit has continued to improve each year and patience has been key in terms of her development per Jacksonville head coach Marian Kush.

“When Alexis was a freshman, I decided not to move her up because I thought she needed more time to develop,” Kush said. “Today as a senior, she is able to run a practice and get effort from her team. Her skills have advanced, but so has her IQ of the game.”

Reese Shirey | Farmington | 5-6 | SO

On a Lady Cardinals roster loaded with talent Shirley has shined shooting 40% from 3-point range, boasts a 3.18 assist-to-turnover ratio, and does much of the dirty work leading the team in charges taken.

“She is a high-basketball-IQ player that plays with great angles, spacing, and pace,” Lady Cardinals head coach Brad Johnson said. “She has tremendous court vision and is phenomenal in transition. Very high motor and a gym rat with enormous potential.”

Mia Smith | Little Rock Christian | 5-8 | JR

Smith’s assist-to-turnover ratio (90-38) tells you all you need to know about her ability to distribute and take care of the basketball. Though she is great at setting her teammates up for shots averaging 5.7 assists, she can also put the ball in the hoop as shown by her 12.5 points per game.

“Mia understands how to run a team,” head coach Ronald Rogers said. “She gets everybody involved in the offense and has a team-first mentality but can take over the game when needed.”

Hope Thomas | Star City | 5-6 | SR

Thomas has helped the Lady Bulldogs to a great season in Class 4A while also individually succeeding. She is great on the defensive end as evidenced by her stealing abilities, but she can also take over offensively like she did scoring 31 points against Warren on February 3rd.

Anna Trusty | Greenwood | 5-10 | SO

Trusty utilizes her length well as a taller guard who scores and passes off the dribble well. She has hit over half of her shots from two-point range averaging 16 points per game along with 5.2 rebounds and 2.8 steals.

“Anna does a great job all over the floor,” Lady Bulldogs head coach Clay Reeves said. “She is great with her anticipation on defense, rebounding, and finding the basketball. Just a great team player.”

Jaci Vines | Kirby | 5-4 | SR

Right before COVID-19 shut the world down, Kirby defeated Viola in the 2020 1A girls state championship game, and with Vines as the senior floor general, the Lady Trojans are hoping to hoist their second trophy in three years. She has averaged 13 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds per game.

“Jaci is one of our key leaders on the floor,” head coach Robert Rucker said. “She really gets us going on offense with her shooting ability and creating shots for her teammates and she is a great passer and has really good court vision.”

Josie Williams | Conway Christian | 5-9 | JR

As a 4.0 student off the court, Williams is every bit as successful on it averaging 17.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 2.4 steals for the Lady Eagles and is also 86% from the free throw line.

“Josie is playing very efficiently as of late,” Conway Christian Coach Trey Lynch said. “She is knocking on the door of a 50/40/90 shooting slash line and doing a number of important things to help us win.”

Riley Whittington | Mayflower | 5-6 | SO

Also a 4.0 student, Whittington has consistently put up double-digit performances and shown tremendous consistency on the defensive end as proved by her 3.5 steals per game. She has done a great job of dishing out shots with 6.5 assists each time out and is averaging 12 points.

“Riley has progressed so much throughout the year and I think she is finally figuring out how good she can be,” head coach Coty Storms said. “I think everybody on our team will tell you that she makes us go.”