Lady Wildcats remain conference champions


After winning conference with a three way tie between Bentonville and Northside, the Lady Wildcats basketball team is grateful for the season they have played this year. The girls, including junior Laurel Smith, were grateful for the team after the conference win and a successful season.

“Going 13 in 3 in conference was a huge accomplishment,” Smith said. “Even though we tied for first, it is still worth celebrating.” 

According to Smith, this year didn’t just leave the girls with a conference win or a successful season, but with long lasting friendships. 

“This year I have become really close friends with some of the seniors on the team,” Smith said. “I am so sad that they are leaving this year, but I am so thankful for the friendships this team has brought me.” 

Senior Karrington Deffebaugh also agrees that although this year was challenging in many different ways, it brought the team closer together.

“This season of basketball was definitely the most challenging mentally and physically,” Deffebaugh said.” but I think it 100% brought the team closer together this year.” 

As a senior on the basketball team, she said that it is a bittersweet experience to finish her high school basketball career with two back to back conference championships. Deffebaugh also said that the win is ten times more enjoyable since so many people said it couldn’t be done. 

Assistant Coach Bakari Norman says that with four returning starters, three of them being seniors, they were able to create a very talented group of girls. 

“ We lost Caylan Koons who was a huge part of our team last year,” Norman said. “However we had four returning starters, three being seniors, so we used that to our advantage.”

According to the girls and alongside Head Coach Kimberly Jenkins, Norman also played a huge part in this season for the team. His encouragement and wise words created a family atmosphere that he believes is what created such a successful season.

“Their friendships and the no drama was what helped the team do so well together, ” Bakari said. 

According to Norman, the girls often received wise words and leadership from their fellow teammates. One of the most vocal leaders on and off the court was senior Mary Blake Martfield. Her passion was to create friendships while playing the game she loves. After four years of playing high school basketball, Martfield said that she is ready to be done playing because she knows none of her friendships will be ending anytime soon. However, seniors Pacious McDaniel and Galatia Andrew will continue their basketball careers at the collegiate level after high school. 

After a successful season as back-to-back conference champions, the girls and coaches will continue to look back on this season’s memories and the life long friendships they have made.

“The most important thing I will take away from this season and this team is the friendships and memories,” Martfield said. “I have made some lifelong friends here.”