BENTON – The Benton Panthers had a historic year this past season, winning a school-record 27 games opposed to just three losses, and losing in the semifinals of the 6A State Tournament. But the Panthers wouldn’t have had their historic year, which included an undefeated 14-0 South Conference schedule, without two players who are trading in their paws for a different species.
All-State guard Rickey Gipson and All-Conference guard Quin Allen will take their basketball careers to the next level at Mid-South Community College in West Memphis, Ark. The former Panthers will now be Greyhounds, which are part of the 15-team Bi-State Conference (Oklahoma and Arkansas) in the NJCAA. The Greyhounds went 14-16 this past season, losing in the Region 2 playoffs.
“Rickey was a three-year letterman, two-year starter, All-State performer and All-Conference for two years,” Benton Coach Chris Nail said. “Quin was a two-year letterman, All-Conference, and both are incredible kids that did so much to help this program this year. It’s going to be tough to see them go, but we’re excited they’re getting to continue to play basketball.”
Gipson averaged 7.4 points per game this past season, adding four rebounds and three assists, and often ran the offense.
“Both Rickey and Quin come from a structured, successful program with a great coach that teaches the fundamentals,” Greyhounds Coach Chris Parker said. “Rickey possesses a solid body and ability to penetrate and knock down the mid-range jump shot that can create opportunities for himself and his teammates.”
Allen averaged 7.3 points, six rebounds and two assists, and was an X-factor being a monster on the offensive glass.
“Quin plays hard-nosed defense and is the type of player that produces the things that may not show up on a stat sheet, but you have to have to win,” Parker said. “We are excited about adding these two guys to our program and look forward to watching their continued progress as young men.”
“Rickey led the team in steals and Quin was our best defender,” Nail added. “Two of our better athletes on the team. They did a lot of things defensively, Rickey would make a big shot and Quin would just make a big play. Just a slasher. The thing about them was they were both so coachable and just total team players.”
Gipson said he likes what Mid-South has to offer.
“I know the basketball program has been good and there a lot of nice people,” Gipson said. “The program and the school look like they’ll take me to where I want to go, to a four-year college.
“It was fun,” Gipson said of his Panther career. “We worked hard for everything. From the summer and offseason, it was good. Everybody worked together and when you win, you get honored, and I was lucky enough to be one of those people.”
Allen appreciated his time as a Panther and likes the fact he’s going with a teammate.
“I had a great career here,” Allen said. “I’m going to miss it.”