HASKELL â€” After a year under Dwaine Fishburn as interim head coach, the Benton High School senior boys basketball team now has a full-time leader.
Following a 6-0 vote at Monday's Benton School Board meeting, 2006 Benton graduate and current Harmony Grove senior boys head coach Dexter Hendrix was named to the helm of one of the most coveted coaching positions in the stateâ€”Benton Panther basketball.
"I am very excited to go back to Benton and coach a great basketball program and help it continue to grow and take it to the next level," Hendrix said.
BENTON â€“ After losing half its team and majority of its contributors to graduation a season after making it to the 6A state semifinals, the Benton Panthers mirrored last season with another semifinals trip, only to lose to the 2014 6A State Champion Jonesboro Hurricane (Jonesboro lost 34-33 to Bobby Portis' Hall team in finals last season) for the second consecutive season. But after being picked to finish in the middle of the pack in the 7A/6A South Conference this past season, the Panthers exceeded all expectations to win the conference with a 12-2 record.
HASKELL â€” The Harmony Grove Lady Cardinals finally got back on the diamond in 5-3A action Monday, playing host to a much-improved eStem squad. After Thursdayâ€™s rainout, the Lady Cardinals were forced to reschedule and wait until Monday to get back in the swing of things.
With LJ Helmich in the circle and bats finally waking up, Harmony Grove strolled away with a 10-1 win, thanks to a big 8-run third inning paced by five walks and a Metsâ€™ error.
RUSSELLVILLE â€“ The Bryant Hornets track team competed in the Russellville Cyclone Invitational Friday night, earning a second-place finish in what is regarded as the biggest and most competitive regular season meet of the season in the state of Arkansas. Â
The Hornets scored 72.5 points to finish behind team champion Â Bentonville (82 points). Â Little Rock Central (66), Rogers Heritage (55), and Little Rock Catholic (47) finished out the top five teams. Â Twenty four teams scored in the meet, which featured 13 out of the 16 teams in class 7A. Â
BENTON â€“ Former Benton Lady Panthers senior forward Allison Reynolds was named to the 6A All-State Tournament Team, but the fact that Benton finished runner-up in the 6A South Conference to El Dorado, only two, not three, Lady Panthers were recognized as all state.
Voted by the 6A South coaches, junior guard Braxton Chumley and junior forward Braylee Landreth got the two spots for Benton, but Reynolds was voted by the conference coaches as a top player in the state.
BENTON â€“ The Benton Panthers were down early, but came back to defeat rival Sheridan Yellowjackets 6-2 in 7A/6A South Conference action on Friday at Panthers Field. Sophomore lefty Chase Nix threw five shutout innings of hitless relief to earn the win.
â€śI was real proud of our pitching,â€ť Benton Coach Mark Balisterri said. â€śBrian (Krikorian) was struggling as far as throwing strikes. They hit it hard a couple times. I feel like we could have stuck with him and been OK, but his pitch count was up for two innings for him and we didnâ€™t want to burn both our starters on Tuesday.
HASKELL -- After beginning spring break 2014 with a sour taste in its mouth following a 16-2 defeat to Arkadelphia, Harmony Grove bounced back with a statement win over Lafayette County on Saturday, 13-3. To the tune of 10 hits, 13 runs and 11 stolen bases, the Cardinals got back on track just in time for their 5-3A conference opener today at Glen Rose.
â€śIt feels good to have a win,â€ť Head Coach Brandon Mynhier said. â€śWe didnâ€™t think we were going to get to play after all the bad weather so it was good to come back after having a lot of time off and score some runs and hit the ball and win.â€ť
TAMPA, Fla. â€“ The Bryant Hornets defeated Rockford, Ill., on Friday morning 10-1 to sweep the Tampa Spring Training Tournament. The Hornetsâ€™ varsity and junior varsity went a combined 8-0 in the tournament.
Junior Jason Hastings started for Bryant on Friday and pitched five innings of one-run ball, which Rockford scored on a squeeze bunt.
The undefeated record was just a bonus as the Hornets played a lot of baseball and gained much-needed experience going into 7A/6A South Conference season when the team returns to face J.A. Fair on Tuesday.
BRYANT â€“ Junior pitcher Blaine Knight struck out the first four batters he faced and nine straight to start, to lead the Bryant Hornets to a 11-1 five-inning victory over the Pine Bluff Zebras in 7A/6A South action on Friday at Hornets Field.
Knight picked up the win giving up one run on one hit, walking two and striking out eight for the game.
The Hornets would strike first early as junior Drew Tipton hit a one-out double to left field and came around to score when third-place batter Chase Tucker singled up the middle for the 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
NORTH LITTLE ROCK -- Friday was night full of defending champions and second-place finishers in North Little Rock. The first round of play slated the defending 3A champ Harmony Grove against 1Aâ€™s victor Taylor Lady Tigers. With two teams looking for a repeat this season, Harmony Grove got in the early shot, punching Taylor in the mouth to the tune of 9-0.
â€śWe hit very well today,â€ť Head Coach Sammi Massey said. â€śWe played really well. Other than one error on defense it went pretty well.â€ť