The Forrest City Lady Mustangs will officially open their season this afternoon when they take on Cabot at 4 p.m., in the first round of the Heavenly Hoops Tournament at Mount St. Mary’s in Little Rock.
The Lady Mustangs are coming off a pair of preseason jamboree games played a week ago at Little Rock Fair, where they defeated Jacksonville and Pulaski Academy.
“I was extremely proud of the girls and how they played,” Forrest City coach Erica Smith said. “They were a little nervous to start but they focused in and played when the ball was tipped. I think I was most impressed with how hard they played. The last couple of seasons I been preaching on working hard and I think that is finally sinking in with them. I know sometimes, they think they are working hard, but using some new drills this off season has made them realize they might now have been working as hard as they thought. Every loose ball matters.”
Smith singled out Keamber Appleby for her rebounding efforts in both jamobree games. Appleby is averaging nine rebounds per game.
“It is her time and I’m happy for her,” Smith added.
Facing Cabot at the Mount St. Mary’s tournament today marks the second time the two teams have met since last season.
The Lady Mustangs played at defeated the Lady Panthers during a summer team camp in a game Smith described as a tough gritty game.
“We are better and they have gotten better too, and they are well coached,” Smith said.
Smith said she expects teams to play a lot of zone against her Lady Mustangs this season because they are bigger and stronger.
“I really will be surprised to see straight man-to-man against us,” Smith added.
The Lady Mustangs are coming off a 5-22 season a year ago, losing all three games at last season’s Heavenly Hoops tournament, to Mount St. Mary’s, Star City and e-Stem.
A win over Cabot today brings the Lady Mustangs back on Wednesday to face the e-Stem/Pulaski Academy winner at 7 p.m., while a loss brings the team back on Wednesday for a 5:30 game against the e-Stem/Pulaski Academy loser.
e-Stem is head coached this season by Smith’s former assistant coach from a year ago, Emmanuel Wade.
The Forrest City Junior Mustangs fell to 0-2 Saturday, losing to Cabot 32-24 in a first-round game played at the Beebe Junior High Invitational basketball tournament.
Martiss Buchanan led the Junior Mustangs with 10 points.
Forrest City was coming off an opening game loss to West Memphis Wonder Thursday.
The Junior Mustangs will return to the Beebe tournament on Wednesday to face Saturday’s Beebe-Wynne loser at 5:45 p.m.
The Forrest City junior girls lost their first round game to Cabot South 32-17. Jasmyn Turner led Forrest City with seven points.
The Junior Lady Mustangs will return to the tournament on Wednesday to play either Beebe or Wynne at 4:30 p.m.
The Palestine-Wheatley junior girls and varsity girls will open the prep basketball season today with a pair of games at Gosnell scheduled to tip at 6 p.m.
All four Palestine-Wheatley basketball teams are being coached this year by Blevin Boyd.
Boyd is a graduate of Kirby High School where he played basketball and then attended Henderson State University.
At Palestine-Wheatley, Boyd is a first-year head coach after serving as an assistant coach at Bismarck and Kirby.
The P-W girls will host Barton on Thursday for a three-game set beginning at 5 p.m.
The Forrest City Mustangs will officially open the season on Thursday, Nov. 16, when they host Little Rock Central in a single game at Mustang Arena beginning at 7 p.m.
Forrest City and Earle, for the second straight year, played a preseason jamboree game Saturday at the Hughes High School gym.