The Pine Bluff Convention Center is the home of this season's 8-4A district basketball tournament. The tournament is set for today through Saturday, with the first game tipping off at 4 p.m. between the Dollarway Lady Cardinals and the Crossett Lady Eagles.
The field includes eight teams, and each team gained their seed based on their respective district records. The Dollarway Cardinals and the Star City Bulldogs are among the eight teams that will be playing for a chance to make it to the regional tournament.
The Star City Lady Bulldogs are the overall number one seed in the girls bracket, as they were unbeaten in district play. Lady Bulldogs' Head Coach Becky Brown has built a winning program, and they haven't suffered a loss since November. The Lady Bulldogs have a double bye, and on Friday, they'll face off against Crossett, Warren or Dollarway.
"The district has been up and down, but we did manage to beat a good Mountain Home team," Brown said. "We gained confidence from that and we felt like we played well. We hadn't had competition like that in a while and that gave us a boost going into the tournament. We're just focusing on getting better at the little things. We want to be consistent with it. Consistency is our goal because when you're playing up and down competition wise you get bad habits."
The Lady Bulldogs have three returning players that'll be key to their post-season success.
They "are our leaders," Brown said. "Two of them played as ninth graders. Larina Walker is our point guard that does a little bit of everything for us, and I would say she's the quarterback of the team. Sara-Jane Lindsey, a 6-foot forward, can handle the ball, play inside, and she gives us versatility. Myra Ford provides quickness, ball handling, passing, and she's a defensive specialist. Those are our most experienced girls that we look to for leadership."
The Dollarway Lady Cardinals, coached by James Jones, are riding a three-game winning streak into the district tournament. Lady Cardinals' guard Jayana Sanders is leading the state in scoring with 27.2 points per game, and Dollarway will go as far as she'll take them.
As for the boys, the Star City Bulldogs and Head Coach Cody Rowland will be in action on day one against the Hamburg Lions. The Bulldogs are entering the tournament having lost their last six games, but in mid-December ,they took down Hamburg by a final of 53-40. The Bulldogs and the Lions are set for an 8:30 p.m. tip off tonight.
The Dollarway Cardinals, coached by Ellis Berry, earned a first round bye after gaining four district wins. The Cardinals routed DeWitt in the regular season finale, and they'll look to ride that wave of momentum into the district tournament. Thursday at 8:30 p.m., the Cardinals will face off against the winner of Star City and Hamburg.