This is the first year of the inaugural Pink and White Lady Classic. It is a merger of the Pink and White Tournament and the KTXR Lady Classic. The best part is they are keeping the tradition of each tournament. The local traditions of the Pink and White as well as the invitation of out of area teams in the Lady Classic combine to make a deep and intriguing field in 2012.
The Pink Division is filled with a defending state champion, D-1 players and a pair of undefeated teams looking for respect.
Favorite: Simply put Little Rock Hall is good. The Lady Warriors return many key cogs from last year’s 7A Final Four team including Rutgers signee Tyler Scaife. Scaife, the #9 prospect in the 2013 class according to ESPN, is averaging over 20 points per game. Hall is 8-1 on the season, including a 26 point rout of Jacksonville, a White Division participant. However, let’s not sleep on Ozark. Coach Little’s team’s is as talented and battle tested as any team in the field. Led by a pair of future D-1 players (Haylee Beard – Texas-San Antonio, Hannah Cook – uncommitted junior) Ozark has the fire power and depth (Lady Tigers return six letter winners from last year) to play with anyone. Ozark is also familiar with teams from Arkansas. Ozark’s seven opponents in 2012 have hailed from the Natural State.
Darkhorse(s): I couldn’t pick just one. West Plains and Ash Grove both have qualities that make them extremely dangerous, particularly in a tournament format. The 4-seed West Plains has one asset that no other team in the tournament has… Andi Haney. Haney, who averaged 20 points per game as a junior has been on a tear as of late, putting up 25 a game to start the season. She has also been receiving help from an experienced supporting cast, including 3-point specialist Cassidy Johnson who is averaging 13 points on the season. If Haney and Johnson get hot, West Plains will be a tough out.
Ash Grove is equally as dangerous, but at the other end of the court. The Lady Pirates full-court pressure is enough to throw even the most offensively potent into a funk. Coach Milleson uses that pressure to create turnovers which lead to easy buckets at the other end. Also, because of their balance, Ash Grove is extremely difficult to guard defensively because there is not a single player to key on. The scary part is, the core group is underclassmen. If not for the injury to Lakin Simmerman, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Lady Pirates make a deep run.
Match-up I most want to see: Ozark vs. Ash Grove
Team that should be on upset alert: Morrisville – The Lady Panthers, who return eight letter winners and all five starters from last year’s team, are off to a blazing 9-0 start. However, their first round matchup with Stockton will be sure to test them. The Lady Tigers, last year’s state runner-up in Class 3, return nine letter winners from that team including a pair of talented post players in Jolene Shipps and Sydney Garrett. Stockton’s size and championship experience could prove to overwhelm the smaller Panthers.
A name you’ll know after this week: Halee Cashio, Ash Grove – Cashio has emerged as one of the area’s best outside shooters, and she has the green light and confidence to prove it. She can also create off the dribble and is a solid defender. The junior G/F scored 34 points in two games last week against Southwest and Fair Grove.
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