Friday, March 9, 2018
HOT SPRINGS -- None of Central Arkansas Christian's four senior girls basketball players want to think about being together on a basketball court for the last time today.
"I'll cry so much," forward Alexa Mashburn said. "I'm already starting to tear up. But I'll come to watch her play at UConn, though."
Her is Christyn Williams, the Lady Mustangs' starting shooting guard and University of Connecticut signee.
Williams, Mashburn and fellow seniors Jenna Davis and Kelson Miller will lead CAC (35-1) in the Class 4A girls state championship game today against Riverview (26-9) at 7:45 p.m. at Bank of the Ozarks Arena.
CAC lost to Riverview in the 2016 title game when the four seniors were sophomores. Williams said it felt good to be back at Bank of the Ozarks Arena, even for a shootaround.
"We were all devastated sophomore year," Williams said. "For us to be back two years later playing against the team we lost to, that's the greatest feeling you can have."
For the better part of eight years, the four Lady Mustangs players have bonded together over basketball.
Williams, Davis, Mashburn and Miller started playing together with a fourth-grade traveling team called the Fire. They began at CAC as sixth-graders, and first played for Lady Mustangs Coach Steve Quattlebaum in the eighth grade. As ninth-graders, they all moved up to the varsity team.
"They have a great bond," Quattlebaum said. "They've been playing together since the fourth grade. They have a great respect for each other. For some players, it would be hard to play with Christyn sometimes. She gets so much attention. But it's never bothered them. They enjoy it as much as she does most of the time."
It can be natural for a teenager to be jealous or upset with the success of Williams, who will play in the McDonald's All-American Game on March 28 in Atlanta.
That's not the case with CAC's senior class.
"We're her No. 1 fans, for real," Mashburn said.
Williams said she's had the best experience playing with Davis, Mashburn and Miller.
"I've never encountered jealousy before," Williams said. "They got to see the come up. I wasn't phenomenal when I was little, but I worked hard. They saw the process."
Said Miller: "We're happy to be the ones to pass her the ball to make the shots. We've been there with her through it all."
Nor has there been any friction among the four players.
"We've never had any drama with each other," Mashburn said. "It's always chill. I don't think we've ever fought with each other."
Williams will play basketball at UConn for Geno Auriemma. As for CAC's other three seniors, Mashburn said she'll attend the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Davis is deciding between Arkansas and TCU, while Miller said she'll likely attend Arkansas State University.
But there's one more game left at CAC for the quartet.
"That's all they've thought about since is getting back to this game," Quattlebaum said. "To watch them work and see this come true is nice."
At a glance
STATE FINALS SCHEDULE
At Bank of the Ozarks Arena, Hot Springs
CLASS 3A BOYS
McGehee vs. Drew Central, 2:30 p.m.
CLASS 3A GIRLS
Charleston vs. Mountain View, 4:15 p.m.
CLASS 5A BOYS
Little Rock Parkview vs. Mills, 6 p.m.
CLASS 4A GIRLS
Central Ark. Christian vs. Riverview, 7:45 p.m.
CLASS 6A GIRLS
Jonesboro vs. Greenwood, 11 a.m.
CLASS 6A BOYS
Jonesboro vs. W. Memphis, 12:45 p.m.
CLASS 1A GIRLS
Mount Vernon-Enola vs. Wonderview, 2:30 p.m.
CLASS 4A BOYS
Baptist Prep vs. Jonesboro Westside, 4:15 p.m.
CLASS 5A GIRLS
Hot Springs vs. Watson Chapel, 6 p.m.
CLASS 1A BOYS
Izard County vs. Guy-Perkins, 7:45 p.m.
Sports on 03/09/2018
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