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Arkansas high school girls basketball Class 4A preview

Eight teams to watch in Class 4A Arkansas prep girls basketball

With the start of a new season, SBLive is previewing Arkansas high school basketball. Today, we feature eight teams to watch from the girls ranks of Class 4A. Over the coming weeks there will be features for each classification as well as player position lists. 

Head over to the website for complete coverage and standings throughout the season. You can also listen to our weekly podcast, Arkansas Prep X-Tra, for even more in-depth coverage.

BROOKLAND BEARCATS 

Head Coach: Mitchell Weber

Conference: 4A-3

2022-23 Finish: 25-11, 4A state quarterfinalist 

Notable Departures

Stella Parker | Lyon College signee, all-conference, all-state

Players To Watch

G Kinsey Clark 5-4 SR | all-conference

G Kinley Morris 5-9 SR | all-conference 

G Addy Vowell 5-8 SR | all-conference

G Evan Polsgrove 5-9 JR | all-conference, all-state tournament 

F Chloe Rodriguez 5-11 JR 

Outlook

Last year in Weber's first season, he led a complete turnaround as Brookland went from nine wins the previous year to 25 and finished as one of the Top 8 teams in Class 4A. The Lady Bearcats expect to keep moving the needle with nearly everyone returning, including reliable long-range shooters Clark (38% 3 FG) and Vowell (36% 3FG), along with Morris (15.5 PPG, 3 SPG, 42% eFG) who continues to pick earn attention from college coaches, as well as Polsgrove (10.2, 3.8 RPG) who had a monster finish to the 2022-23 season, while Rodriguez rounds out the starting five. 

Coach Said

"We hope to rely heavily on our experience this year. Our Top 10 kids are all juniors and seniors who have been around the block quite a bit. Experience here and on the volleyball court will pay dividends for us when it gets later in the year. We all, collectively, have very high expectations for ourselves. We believe that we can compete for a conference and regional championship. We know that, that will not be easy and will have to be earned daily. We are constantly working daily to play for late February and early March."

- Mitchell Weber 

CLINTON YELLOWJACKETS 

Head Coach: Matt Post

Conference: 4A-5 

2022-23 Finish: 25-7, 4A state quarterfinalist 

Notable Departures

Reese McDonald | all-conference, all-state, all-state tournament

Sydney Standridge | North Arkansas College signee, all-conference, all-state, all-state tournament 

Kinley Keith | all-conference, two-time conference Defender of the Year

Katie McJunkins | all-conference 

Players To Watch

G Abigail Parks 5-5 SR | all-conference, all-state honorable mention 

F Cadie Gifford 5-10 SR | all-conference

G Gracee Linville 5-4 SR

G Kayden Brown 5-11 JR

P Maggie Gresham 6-0 JR 

G Lexi Wallace 5-4 SO

Outlook

The Lady 'Jackets were expected to continue competing at a high level despite moving up in classification last year and they lived up to the hype, coming up just seconds short of a semifinal berth. Despite four key pieces from the winningest class in school history departing, the expectation still remains to make deep tournament runs and eventually end in Hot Springs. Parks (11.3 PPG, 51% 3FG, state record holder for 3-point percentage in a season) is one of the more underrated players in Arkansas regardless of class, while Gifford (4.6 PPG, 6.7 RPG) also returns in the starting lineup along with Linville (4 PPG) who Coach Post describes as one of the better defenders in the 4A-5. 

Coach Said

"I am very excited about the ceiling of this team. We have a lot of depth this year and I expect us to have a high scoring offense. We can put four to five capable shooters on the court at a time this year and rebound the ball strong. I look forward to seeing this team grow as the year goes and making a run at a conference, regional and hopefully state championship. We have a great schedule that will prepare us as well. We are going to the Great 8 Tournament at Rogers and have road games at Russellville and Star City." 

- Matt Post 

Farmington guard Reese Shirey (Photo by Tommy Land)

Farmington guard Reese Shirey (Photo by Tommy Land)

FARMINGTON CARDINALS

Head Coach: Brad Johnson 

Conference: 4A-1

2022-23 Finish: 36-1, 4A state champions

Notable Departures

Jenna Lawrence | University of Arkansas signee, 4A state tournament MVP, all-conference, all-state

Players To Watch

G Reese Shirey 5-5 SR | Northeastern State (Okla.) University signee, all-conference, all-state, all-state tournament 

F Zoey Bershers 6-3 JR | all-conference, all-state honorable mention

G Marin Adams 6-0 JR | all-conference, all-state tournament  

G/F J'Myra London 5-7 SR | all-conference

G Hannah Moss 5-7 SR | all-conference 

F Kaycee McCumber 6-1 JR | all-conference 

Outlook

"Redemption," as Lady Cardinals point guard Reese Shirey famously coined last year's state title run, was certainly earned after previously coming up short in the finals in both 2021 and 2022. Lawrence is now playing with the Razorbacks, but when you create a 'program' the way Farmington has then you are built to last. Shirey (9 PPG, 3 RPG, 4.5 APG, 3 SPG, 50%) is a true floor general with as much knowledge for the game as anyone, but has plenty of quality help around her in London, Moss, plus Adams who scored a game-high 22 points in the state championship and already has a handful of offers. McCumber (6 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 59% FG) and Bershers (6 PPG, 5 RPG, 2 BPG, 59% FG) are both college prospects who provide a lot of length and experience.

Coach Said

"Our team had a tremendous off-season, summer and pre-season. Practices have been lively and this a competitive group by nature that prioritizes winning. I like our versatility, size, and basketball IQ. We again have a daunting non-conference schedule that includes multiple highly competitive tournaments, in-state larger classification opponents, and out of state teams such as Vashon (Mo.), Collierville (Tenn.) and Duncanville (Texas). Additionally, we feel like the 4A-1 will again be extremely tough and have great depth to the talent level in the league."

- Brad Johnson 

GENTRY PIONEERS

Head Coach: Toby Tevebaugh 

Conference: 4A-1

2022-23 Finish: 27-10, 4A state semifinalist

Notable Departures

Alyssa McCarty | Lincoln (Mo.) University signee, all-conference, all-state, all-state tournament 

Players To Watch

F Shelby Still 5-10 SR

F Kaitlyn Caswell 5-8 SR

G Emma Tevebaugh 5-2 SR

F Brynn Codeiro 5-5 SR

G Destiny Reinhardt 5-4 SR

F Reese Hester 5-10 SR

G Presley Ward 5-7 JR

G Cayci Capps 5-2 JR

F/P Alexis Osbourn 5-10 JR

Outlook

Gentry probably has not gotten near the credit it deserves, partly because they are in the same conference with 4A defending champion and powerhouse Farmington, who has been a thorn in just about everyone's side for a while. However, the Lady Pioneers finished as one of the last four teams and there is no reason to think they can not do it again. With the exception of McCarty, every key player returns starting with forwards Still (9 PPG, 5 RPG), Caswell (7PPG, 6 RPG, 3 SPG), Hester (6 PPG), and Cordeiro (5 PPG, 4 RPG), plus Emma Tevebaugh (5 PPG, 4 APG) and Reinhardt (3 PPG, 3 SPG) in the backcourt. 

Coach Said

"We return six of our top seven players from last season. We are very balanced with all players having the ability to lead us on any given night. We have focused on improving our depth in the off-season. Despite returning so many there are a lot of questions we have to try and answer in our non-conference games as our conference will be extremely good once again. I think our experience and team chemistry will be a strength and hopefully help us to make postseason play." 

- Toby Tevebaugh 

MORRILTON DEVIL DOGS 

Head Coach: Carin McNabb 

Conference: 4A-4 

2022-23 Finish: 30-5, 4A state semifinalist

Notable Departures

Cheyenne Kemp | University of Central Arkansas signee, all-conference, all-state, all-state tournament 

KK Clemons 

Kamryn Reel 

Players To Watch

P Johnna Brockman 5-11 SR | all-conference, all-state

G Jennifer Hartman 5-11 SR 

G Sophia Wahrmund 5-6 SR | Arkansas Tech University softball commit

P Jessi Hunt 5-11 SR

G Chloe McNabb 5-2 SR

G Trinity Everette 5-2 JR

F Aubrey Henderson 5-8 JR

Outlook

While they will look different with a mix of seniority and youth, it would not be wise to overlook this group despite the departure of Kemp, one of the more consistent 4A players over the past few years. Post players Brockman (8 PPG, 4 RPG) and Hunt expect to be a productive duo, while Hartman (7 PPG, 5 RPG) is a rangy guard who plays good defense and shoots well. Wahrmund (4 PPG, 3 RPG, 3 APG) is known for her abilities on the softball diamond, but Coach McNabb pointed out that she will "hound you on defense" and "can shoot it or drive it." 

Coach Said

"We are different from the past, but that doesn't mean down. Size will be our strength and hopefully by tournament time we will be clicking on both ends of the floor. Upperclassmen have done a good job of helping the eight sophomores and hopefully by midseason some of them will be able to give us some quality minutes."

- Carin McNabb 

Nashville guard Olivia Dean (Photo by Tommy Land)

Nashville guard Olivia Dean (Photo by Tommy Land)

NASHVILLE SCRAPPERETTES 

Head Coach: Paul Dean

Conference: 4A-7

2022-23 Finish: 29-4, 4A state runner-up

Notable Departures

Kyleigh Scoggins | Southern Arkansas University signee, all-conference, all-state, all-state tournament, 2022 4A state tournament Most Valuable Player 

Lauren Carver | all-conference, all-state, all-state tournament 

Players To Watch

G Caroline Dean 5-4 JR | all-conference 

G Olivia Dean 5-5 SR | all-conference 

G Shalyn Lyle 5-7 JR | all-conference

G Jessie Lyle 5-7 JR | all-conference 

F Aaliyah Hollins 5-9 SR | all-conference 

F Jasmine May 5-4 SR

G Lyris Bennett 5-6

Outlook

Despite not being able to complete a back-to-back state championship run, the Scrapperettes in just two years have become one of 4A's premier programs. It's mentioned frequently how Paul Dean is going to load up his schedule and it is no different this time around. Dean's daughters, Caroline (7 PPG, 3 APG, 3 SPG) and Olivia (7 PPG, 2 SPG), have been a major part of the success, while twin sisters Jessie (7 PPG, 2 SPG) and Shalyn (8 PPG, 2 SPG) Lyle stepped up as sophomores. Hollins (7 PPG, 8 RPG, 2 SPG) is still recovering from an injury she sustained late last season and the timetable for her return is unknown. 

Coach Said

"We had a productive offseason, summer, and pre-season. We are excited about the upcoming season and look forward to improving on a daily basis." 

- Paul Dean 

PULASKI ACADEMY BRUINS 

Head Coach: Rick Treadway

Conference: 4A-5

2022-23 Finish: 8-13

Notable Departures

Jana Esmail

Players To Watch

P Caroline Scurlock 5-9 SR

G Madison Sanders 5-6 JR | all-conference 

G Iryana Woods 5-5 SO

G Anna Kate Nichols  SR | University of Arkansas golf signee

P Sierra Hendrix SR

G Sophia Boyd 5-8 JR

G Maddie Carter 5-5 SO

G Randi Stewart 5-10 FR

G Greenlee Elmore FR

G/F Sophie Greenwood 5-10 FR

Outlook

Rick Treadway never held back when talking about his team coming into last year being extremely young and inexperienced. However, in 42 years of coaching Treadway had been in this position before and he feels the Lady Bruins are now prepared to make their presence felt. Sanders (11 PPG) and golf star Nichols impressed in 2022-23, while fellow guards Boyd and Carter are two who took their craft to another level over the offseason. Like last season, there will still be some youth on the floor, but that could pay major dividends quickly as Elmore, Greenwood and Stewart all expect to "be immediate difference makers." 

Coach Said

"(We are) Going to be much improved. Should have a chance to be a solid state tournament team with a chance to make a little run!"

- Rick Treadway 

STAR CITY BULLDOGS 

Head Coach: Becky Yarbrough 

Conference: 4A-8

2022-23 Finish: 30-4, 4A state first round 

Notable Departures

Marshay Johnson | all-conference, all-state 

Players To Watch

G/F Anslee Ballew 5-10 SR | South Arkansas Community College signee, all-conference 

G Gracie Muckleroy 5-7 SR | all-conference, all-state 

G Joslyn Robertson 5-6 SR | all-conference, all-state tournament 

F Kenya Johnson 5-9 SO "Kenya is an aggressive player who crashes the boards hard for rebounds."

Outlook

It is safe to say the Lady Bulldogs have a sour taste in their mouth following back-to-back first round tournament exits and are ready to change that. Two-time state champion Coach Yarbrough is now in her 33rd season as Star City's head coach and welcomes back a talented lineup. Sharpshooter Ballew can knock a basket down from essentially anywhere on the court, while Muckleroy and Robertson also have a lot of proven production in the backcourt. Yarbrough expects Johnson, a transfer from Dumas known for rebounding, to take the Lady Bulldogs' game in the paint up another notch. 

Coach Said

"Expecting a better inside game with sophomores and a transfer from Dumas."

- Becky Yarbrough 

OTHERS TO WATCH: Hamburg, Highland, Heber Springs 

--Kyle Sutherland