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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Lady Tigers Find Solid Foundation in Bowman

Arkansas River Valley Business Directory

No one knows what the future may hold. In 2020, the Mansfield Lady Tigers program was on top of the world as they set records and racked up plaques. Under the leadership of former head coach Joshua Bryan, the program seemed to be headed for its golden age with nothing to slow it down.

That was when the future took a sharp turn left. The Lord led Coach Bryan down a different path leaving the Lady Tigers without a coach. After a quick mad scramble, Mansfield quickly found their man in Ethan Bowman. From that point, all talk about the future has been in the past.

Bowman, entering his first year as a head coach in a public school system was dead set on one very simple goal. Win. Every coach deserves a three-year run to be able to set up his/her foundation for their program. Coach Bowman on the other hand began pouring concrete on day one and the Lady Tigers have been hard at work smoothing out their new foundation.

Up to this point, I feel like we have done a good job of laying a strong foundation for the program. The culture we want to build is one of playing hard, playing together, and being the toughest team on the floor. We have a lot of youth in the program and growing pains can be expected with a young group. With that said, I feel like we are really starting to put the pieces together and buy in. I believe that the best part of both the SR High and JR High team’s season is still to come.

Ethan Bowman, Head Coach Mansfield Lady Tiger Basketball

Coming into the 2021-22 season, the talent level of the Lady Tigers program was not in question. Although the talent was there, the program as a whole underwent a big shuffle in placement of that talent from last season to this season. The SR Lady Tigers lost four starters from their record setting 2020-21 season and listed only ten players on their roster with just two seniors while the JR High squad lost an all-star 9th Grade group who moved up to SR High after the 2020-21 season which left quite the void to fill. Many may have felt that with all of the shuffling and changes, the program would have very few positives to lean on. Coach Bowman on the other hand has seen plenty of positives.

Our girls are a versatile group that will usually have a mismatch somewhere on the court. I think both groups have bought into a defensive basketball mindset and that’s big for us. Our ability to switch from man to zone and back again all while still being able to guard very well is impressive. On nights where our shots aren’t falling our way, especially on the road, our defense will always give us a chance. Everyone has stepped up big time in all parts of the game.

Ethan Bowman, Head Coach Mansfield Lady Tiger Basketball

Coach Bowman knew that he landed in a deep pool of talent at Mansfield when he was hired, but what could he do all of it as a new coach? A coach could be overwhelmed if asked who has impressed him the most so far in his first season. But when asked that exact question about his SR High team, his answer was quick and precise. “It’s really hard to pick just one player because they have all stepped up as of late and it has been nothing but a team effort. Our SR High team is really clicking right now with Alyson Edwards being a solid team leader, Kynslee Ward taking pride in being a true point guard, and Sadie Roberts scoring quite well” stated Bowman.

Normally having a few solid players would be enough to make any coach happy, but Bowman said he’s got more where that comes form. “Skylynn Harris and Natalie Allison are both doing a great job at their role as well as Harley Fuller, Seven Sanderson, Raine Hecox, Brooklyn Adams, and Sarah Fisher” added Bowman.

A head coach doesn’t have to list every player on his team, but with a small roster with each bringing their own skills to the table Bowman believes each player is key to the success of this SR High team this season.  

The JR High team has the same kind of talent pool, but with a much deeper roster. Any Mansfield JR High Lady Tiger player at can step on the court and embarrass an opponent at any time. There is one though that has stood out to Bowman though. The JR High squad is a really talented group. We have plenty of outstanding athletes, but Presley Curry has really stuck out and surprised me this year. She has turned herself into a good ball player, she listens, is coachable, and always gives great effort. With Curry being able to be such a threat on the court it has opened up even more options for Kaylee Ward, Ambira Whittaker, Trinity Triska, Shelby Fuller, and others.

Coach Bowman has made a smooth transition into the Mansfield Lady Tigers basketball program. The players are beginning to click with the new system and are beginning buy in to the new process that Bowman has installed.

The SR Lady Tigers currently sit with an 11-7 overall record and are 2-2 in conference while the JR Lady Tigers are undefeated at 15-0 overall and 2-0 in conference. These records cannot be taken lightly either as the Lady Tigers program have faced the likes of Southside, Gravette, Cossatot, and other larger non-conference schools so far his season.

With an impressive first half to the season, Lady Tigers plan to finish strong in a mostly conference play second half. No one knows what the future may hold, but you can bet your bottom dollar that Coach Bowman and the Lady Tigers program will face it head on and give it all they have.

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