Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the traditional Mansfield Tiger Booster Club Banquet to honor athletic award winners of the 2019-2020 sports season was canceled. To publicize the athletes that won either conference, state, or local awards, this publication will offer a series of articles related to those participants that earned athletic accolades this school year. Mansfield coaches submitted narratives pertaining to their specific teams which will be released in chronological segments. This article will highlight the winter sports award recipients.
2019-2020 Girls Basketball Awards:
(contributions by Coach Josh Bryan)
Before we move on to the Senior High awards, we would like to take a moment and recognize the Junior High Lady Tigers basketball team for their outstanding season. The Junior High Lady Tigers went 20-3 this year clinching their conference championship with a 38-22 win over West Fork back on February 7th. They moved into the District Tournament as the #1 seed to take on rival Waldron in the opening round. The Lady Tigers had a decisive victory against the Lady Dogs 43-16. In the second round, we would see the Lady Elks of Elkins. After losing to the Lady Elks not a month earlier, the Lady Tigers had to prove that they earned the #1 seed.
The Lady Elks gave the Lady Tigers everything they had and with exceptional defense, the Lady Tigers won 29-23. The finals were decided in an almost similar fashion. The Lady Tigers faced off against the Cedarville Lady Pirates. There wasn’t a moment in this game where anyone could say it was one-sided. Again, the Lady Tigers had to prove that they deserved their spot on top. With excellent commitment and confidence down the stretch, the Lady Tigers took the lead and didn’t give it back winning 37-31. We would like to recognize the Junior Lady Tigers for winning not only the conference but their District Tournament as well!
Record breaking performances this season include:
Brooklyn Adams for charges in a season.
Skylynn Harris for assists in a season and tied 3-pointers made in a season.
Kynslee Ward for steals in a game and in a season, and deflections in a game and in a season.
Excellent job Junior Lady Tigers!
SENIOR HIGH RECAP:
The Sr High Lady Tigers ended 6-18 for the 2019-2020 season, improving by two wins from last season. Even though we didn’t increase in the win column as we wanted, we showed improvement in many areas this season. During the 2019-2020 season, we missed three wins by less than five points including a double-overtime loss at Cedarville. From where we were a year ago, that’s a nice leap forward from last season. Our outside scoring went from 41 made 3-pointers in 2018, to 85 only one season later, proving that we have grown in our outside scoring ability.
We had four different Lady Tigers score over 100 points this season, and two of them had over 200. Another improvement with only having two score 100 last season and one over 200. We scored just 45 points shy of 1000 points for the season after only scoring 627 points in the previous year. Another area of improvement was our ability to steal the ball. We had a total of 240 steals for the season; an increase of 91 from last year.
Our greatest growth was something we stressed a lot during the season; rebounds. We rebounded much better this season, increasing our rebounding total for the season by 208 total rebounds from 2018. These areas of increase in a single season speak volumes about the hard work our Lady Tigers put in since last year. We will continue to grow and get better for the 2020-2021 season.
Some stand out performances this season are:
Brooke Wright set the single-game record for blocked shots with seven in our game against Hackett. She ended the season with 33 blocked shots.
Makayla Strutton ended with 233 points and 120 rebounds.
Danielle Lillie ties the single-game record for steals in a game with nine against Hackett. She ended the season with 50 total steals and 243 points; including 40 made 3-pointers.
Chloe Creekmore ended with 107 points and 106 rebounds.
Sadie Roberts ended with 71 deflections, 54 steals, and 145 points.
The Lady Tigers will be moving into a new conference and division next season. We will join 2A next year with the following conference opponents: Lavaca, Acorn, Mountainburg, JC Westside, Magazine, and The Future School of Fort Smith.
Leader board this season:
Points: Danielle Lillie
2-pointers: Makayla Strutton
3-pointers: Danielle Lillie
Field Goal %: Brooke Wright
Free Throws: Makayla Strutton
Free Throw %: Haylee Helms/Mikayla Harrison
Assists: Danielle Lillie
Offensive Rebounds: Makayla Strutton
Turnover %: Makayla Strutton
Defensive Rebounds: Makayla Strutton
Deflections: Sadie Roberts
Steals: Sadie Roberts
Blocked Shots: Brooke Wright
Charges: Mikayla Harrison
Defensive Player of the Year goes to junior, Brooke Wright
Offensive Player of the Year Award and All-District Honorable Mention goes to junior, Danielle Lillie.
All-District and Player of the Year goes to Makayla Strutton.
2019-2020 Basketball Season Recap:
(contributions by Coach Keith Dake)
Our 2019 team came into the year with high expectations returning four out of our five starters from the previous season and having five seniors to lead the charge. Even with the senior leadership and experience we would have on the hardwood, we fully understood the challenge we had in front of us if we planned on competing within our conference.
Competing in what was regarded as one of the states’ toughest basketball conferences, we matched up against some of Arkansas’s most talented 3A schools and athletes each night. With an overall record of 9-15, the Tigers walked away from this season with key victories over teams such as West Fork, Greenland, Cedarville, and Lincoln. The Lincoln win was a hard-fought victory that came during the first round of the District Tournament.
The best attribute of this team was knowing that on any given night they could go out and compete with whichever team lined up across from them. Every team we faced understood our potential, sometimes even more so than ourselves. Throughout the season we encountered several hardships including multiple starters missing games due to illness or injuries. Those obstacles seemed to plague the team throughout the season. But through those hardships, several young players made the absolute most of their minutes, shining a bright light on the future of Mansfield basketball for the upcoming seasons.
And now for the 2019-2020 Basketball Individual Awards:
Offensive Player of the Year: Senior Guard, Layton Howard
- Arguably the best athlete on the court each night, Layton was able to score at will. Shooting 47.5% from the field, averaging 13 points per game, and scoring over 280 points this season. This is Howard’s second consecutive season scoring over 250 points.
Defensive Player of the Year: Junior Guard, Codi Chick
- Chick led the team in steals, pass deflections, and blocked shots. He was also third on the team in charges taken. He accumulated 34 steals, 37 pass deflections, eight blocked shots, and four charges. The true scoring guard has made strides in balancing his game and has become a player making a true impact on both ends of the floor.
6th Man Award: Junior Forward, Jonathan “Jojo” Bailey
- Through the injuries and illness, Jojo was one of the underclassmen who stepped up and was able to take a huge leap in production this season. Coming into the game and becoming a true defensive stopper and recording three consecutive games with double-digit scoring. His heart and intensity on the court are hard to match.
Tiger Pride Award: Senior Forward, Tyler Holmes
- This is an award that is given to an athlete who not only shows improvement but has been dedicated and puts in the hard work and effort on and off the floor that makes every person in the gym proud to call him a Tiger. I can’t think of anyone more deserving. Tyler is an exemplary student and athlete, and puts his full heart into everything he does in life. This season Tyler was able to amass his first 100 point season, while also coming in second in both steals and pass deflections. He is a player that has sacrificed his life and limb for every loose ball for the past six years, never giving up on a single play. He was the type of player that should make anyone watching or playing proud he represented the Tigers.
Honorable Mentions: Senior Guard and Forward, Jaicy Griffin and Isaac Cothran
- These two players have shown dedication throughout their tenure at Mansfield High School, playing basketball each of their six seasons. They have been relentless competitors each year, willing to sacrifice their bodies for the good of their team, great work ethic, and often referred to as the “Bash Brothers” due to their brute physicality.
All-District and this year’s Basketball Player Of The Year: Senior Forward, Ethan Stovall
- Shooting 52% from the field, 72% from the free-throw line, averaging 14.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Ethan was the team’s leader in points, rebounds, and assists. Ethan surpassed 300 total points this season for the third straight year.