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By Kyle Sutherland | Photo by Sadie Rucker 

With the high school basketball season in full swing, SBLive is looking at the best girls players in Arkansas class by class. Today, we feature the top seniors. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list as there are hundreds of great basketball players in the state. Use the comments section to discuss other standout players in the state.

Soon, you will have a chance to vote on who you think is the top senior girls basketball player in the state.

Olivia Allen | Southside Batesville | 5-6 shooting guard

Allen is one part of a stellar guard tandem that hopes to lead the Lady Southerners on a deep state tournament run. Head coach Michael Harville knows the future Henderson State Reddie is one the opponent will key on but it does not phase her.

“Despite having the attention of every opponent, she still impresses,” Harville said.

Madelyn Atkins | Beebe | 5-9 combo guard

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 in a 2021 article. “She works hard to make others around her better.”

Parris Atkins | Bryant | 5-7 shooting guard

After averaging 16.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 3.6 steals as a junior, Atkins will continue to improve on her all-around game before heading to play for UCA following graduation. Atkins is valuable to the team as a scorer, but head coach Brad Matthews knows she brings much more to the table. 

“Parris has been rebounding and defending well,” Matthews said. “When she rebounds well, we are able to get out in transition.”

Marlee Bright | Centerpoint | 5-6 point guard

Bright looks to lead the Lady Knights all the way this year after coming up just shy of a title last season. She is the team leader on a Knights team who have played great so far this year.

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

Jada Brown | Bentonville | 5-7 guard

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. 

Carson Dillard | Farmington | 5-7 combo guard

The Southwestern Oklahoma State University signee has led the Lady Cardinals to over 20 wins this year and 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.

Destine Duckworth | North Little Rock | 5-10 power forward

The Southern Illinois-Edwardsville signee, and one of multiple consistent players for the Lady Charging Wildcats, Duckworth is a versatile power forward with a tireless work ethic. She is not only a finisher around the rim but can also get it done on the perimeter.

Ashton Elley | Little Rock Christian | 5-10 shooting guard

Elley is described by head coach Ronald Rogers as “the best shooter he has ever coached,” and that attribute is a big reason she has gotten plenty of attention from division one schools and will continue her career at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. 

“She has instincts that you just say ‘wow’ when she makes a spectacular play,” Rogers said.

Brett Gardner | Southside Batesville | 5-7 combo guard

The Mississippi College signee and Lyon College Tournament MVP from earlier December is the other member of the Lady Southerners stellar guard duo with Olivia Allen. 

“Both Brett and Olivia are unselfish and humble,” Harville said. “They’ve both seen 25-plus point nights and some where they do not shoot as well, but I’m thrilled with the confidence they come back with night after night.”

Ereauna Hardaway | Jonesboro | 5-5 combo guard

Hardaway was last year’s 5A 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 in a night, but also could come out the next game and collect 10-plus assists setting up her teammates for shots. 

Da’Kariya Jackson | Jacksonville | 5-10 post

Jackson’s length gives her the ability to effectively play about every position on the floor, one of the many reasons she has developed into a college prospect. After enduring injuries last season, Jacksonville head coach Marian Kursh mentioned she has come along well. 

“She is a special kid with God-given ability,” Kursh said. “Her game just comes natural.”

Ava Knoedl | CAC | 5-6 shooting guard

CAC got off to a rough start this year following an early exit from the state tournament last year but have since played very well. The Mississippi College signee is one of the top shooters in the state but, like her team, struggled through the first five games against good competition. 

“She has been much better,” CAC head coach Steve Quattlebaum said. “Most importantly she has been playing some outstanding defense and providing leadership on what still is a fairly young team.”

Jaidyn Koerdt | Pulaski Academy | 5-11 shooting guard

The Purdue-Fort Wayne signee was a force last season averaging 19 points per game and has put up 14 a contest this year. 

“Jaidyn plays very hard,” coach Rick Treadway said. “She is another coach on the floor.” 

Kenley McCarn | Melbourne | 5-9 wing

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 last 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.

Briley Pena | Nettleton | 5-5 combo guard

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. “

Haitiana Releford | Fort Smith Northside | 5-8 forward

Longtime Lady Bears head coach Rickey Smith has had many great players come through his program in 30 years and Releford is the latest one. On a team loaded with current Division I players last season, Releford scored 20 points in the state 6A championship game, but none of those were more important than her game-winning shot in double overtime against Fayetteville. 

Alexis Rowe | Jacksonville | 5-10 point guard

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

Kyndal Rooks | Rose Bud | 5-8 combo guard

The Ouachita Baptist signee has over 1,000 career points and is a threat to have success scoring at all three levels whether she decides to shoot from the perimeter or drive the paint.

“Kyndal has not only changed her game stepping into a guard role, but also leading the team in scoring and rebounding,” head coach Mary Nash said. “She is consistently able to be a player that her teammates and I trust during adverse conditions.”

Josie Storey | Mountain View | 5-10 combo guard

The UT-Martin signee is a gifted scorer shooting around 50% from the field over the course of her career. She has already produced multiple 20-plus point games this season.

Madeleine Tipton | Vilonia | 5-10 wing

Already with multiple 25-plus point performances this year, the Ouachita Baptist signee is a threat to score whenever she touches the ball, which her coach says she continuously gets better at. 

“Madeleine’s ability to score the basketball has greatly improved over the past year,” head coach Jeremy Simon said. “She is a great shooter from outside, can get to the rim, and can post up inside. She seems to get better every week.”

Destiny Thomas | Jonesboro | 6-3 post

The Memphis signee was a key player for the Lady Hurricane’s state title run last season and has averaged just shy of a double-double throughout her high school career. 

Jaiden Thomas | Conway | 5-10 shooting guard

The future Louisiana Tech Bulldog is on the long list of great players to play for the Wampus Cats. She received offers from the likes of Arkansas State, Louisiana-Monroe, Central Arkansas, among others but ultimately chose to sign continue her playing career in Ruston. After enduring a scary injury earlier in her career, she has been a very successful.

“Jaiden has been a big part of our team’s early success because of her experience on and off the floor,” head coach Ashley Hutchcraft said. 

Kaleigh Thompson | Lonoke | 6-1 forward

Thompson has always been a threat to score when around the basket, but the UCA signee has really improved on her game from the inside out. 

“We really challenged her to grow her game past her limits,” head coach Chris Brown said. “We worked extremely hard on her mid-range game as a junior so she could start expanding to the arc. Her being able to score at all three levels is what attracted colleges along with her versatility at several positions.”

Amauri Williams | North Little Rock | 6-4 post

Williams is Arkansas’ top-ranked prospect for 2022 as the 93rd-best player in the nation per ESPN, 12th for her position. She signed with Vanderbilt in November over offers from Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi State, and Florida State. Williams is extremely physical in the paint and uses her leverage to win the battles against each opponent. 

Hayleigh Wyrick | Lake Hamilton | 5-8 guard

The Arkansas Tech signee has always been a great scorer, but this year coach Blake Condley feels the Lady Wolves’ early success is due in large part to her shooting the ball more efficiently. 

“Haleigh has continued to grow her understanding of the game,” Condley said. “She is shooting a good percentage from the field while she limits her turnovers.”