State Sports Letters

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Loaded field set for Thomas tournament

Conway will begin his season of redemption today when he takes on Little Rock Parkview in the first round of the Dandra Thomas Invitational at 7:00 p.m. today at Buzz Bolding Arena.

Conway Christian and Valley Springs will officially open the three-day, eight-team tournament at 4 p.m. The defending Class 4A state champions, Nashville and Jonesboro, who moved to Class 6A after finishing second in Class 5A last year, follow at 5:30 p.m. before the host team take the floor against Parkview.

The Lady Wampus Cats spent the entire 2021-22 regular season ranked No. 1 in the state but were upset by Little Rock Central 66-60 in the second round of the postseason. Conway returns for the bulk of that team, led by Stanford signee Chloe Clardy, and will be one of the favorites to clinch his first title since 2014.

Little Rock Christian and Fayetteville play nightcap at 8:30pm. The semifinals are scheduled for Friday at 7:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., while the title game takes place on Saturday at 5:30 p.m

– Eric Taylor

VOLLEYBALL

Harding trio honored by GAC

Harding University seniors Kelli McKinnon and Sarah Morehead were named the Great American Conference’s Offensive Player and Setter of the Year, respectively, on Wednesday, while coach Meredith Fear was named the conference’s Coach of the Year.

Both McKinnon and Morehead were also first-team All-Conference selections. McKinnon, who is the fourth Harding player to win Player of the Year honors, led the league with an attacking percentage of .346 and ranked in the top five in kills, blocks and points per set. She is also the first female volleyball player and fourth athlete in conference history to receive the honor of Player of the Year and Elite Scholar Athlete recognition. Morehead, who became the first Harding player to be named setter of the year, led the league in assists per set and had 13 double-doubles. Fear was named Coach of the Year for the third time in her career.

Riley Braziel of Ouachita Baptist University was honored as the conference’s Freshman of the Year. Braziel was the second-team pick for all conferences along with teammates Lexie Castillow and Courtney Hanson. Southern Arkansas University’s Emily Adams, Landry Rogers and Morgan Schuster from OBU, and Logan Smith, Ally Stoner and Emma Winiger from Harding all received honorable mentions.

— Democrat-Gazette Press Services

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