The Mansfield Sr Lady Tigers have been igniting the hardwood all season long and breaking records to boot. The Lady Tigers are sitting with a 9-3 season play record and if Mansfield can pick up a win in their next match on Tuesday, January 5 against Ozark Catholic, it’ll put the girls at a 10 win season which is something that hasn’t been done in almost a decade! One Lady Tiger leading the ambush is senior, Makayla Strutton. In just 12 games, Strutton has accumulated 189 points along with 59 rebounds, 66 deflections, 62 steals, 38 assists, and 1 charge taken.
Basketball has been Strutton’s passion since the third grade. “I was always around my older cousins when I was little and they always liked basketball so any chance I would get, I would play with them because I wanted to be like them,” explained Strutton. “We were really close and I looked up to them in the sports they played. When I got into sports at school, I realized I wasn’t as into all the other sports like I was basketball.”
With Makayla competing in her final year of high school basketball, she has a go big or go home attitude. “I’ve realized it’s my last year of high school ball and I don’t want to disappoint in my last year. Also, Coach Bryan always tells us “you never know when your last game is going to be so give it all you got” and I’ve been sticking by that this year.” Sitting at the halfway mark of her season, there is one game that Strutton is most pleased with. “The best game so far has been the one against Acorn. We practiced for that game for so long to come out with a win. Our hard work paid off and I’m proud of my team for that. “Next I’m looking forward to when we play Magazine this Friday. We will be competing for the number one spot in conference if they lose to Acorn on Tuesday.”
Apart from having a winning season, the next best thing about being a Lady Tiger is the opportunity to be coached under Josh Bryan. “I couldn’t be more thankful for a coach like him! The teams’ chemistry on the court this year I feel has been much better than the past season and I’m grateful for that. I hope to keep all our hard work going throughout the rest of the season.”
“Makayla is a bubbly player in practice and enjoys joking and having fun,” expressed Coach Bryan. “But when it is time to play, she’s 100% focused. Being able to make that switch is the sign of a maturing player. Makayla has increasingly been getting better as the season has gone on. She’s playing at a much higher level this season and it’s helping Mansfield to one of the better seasons we’ve had in recent years.”
Coach Bryan continues, “Key areas of improvement this season have been her jump shot and ability to read an opponent’s ball handling. If you haven’t been to watch Makayla and the rest of the Lady Tigers, you’re missing out. In the last two games alone, Makayla has scored 53 points and had over a dozen assists, steals, deflections, and rebounds and also broke the single-game record for steals with ten in our previous game against Hackett. Makayla has even received interest at the next level by 7 different colleges around Arkansas and the surrounding states.”
“After high school, I’m hoping to go to college and play basketball,” Strutton added. “I have a couple of schools looking at me, but I’m not certain where I will go yet. Out of the colleges that are looking at me, I would love to attend National Park College in Hot Springs or Crowley’s Ridge College in Paragould.” The basketball season isn’t over yet and Makayla and the rest of the Lady Tigers still want to continue making their Tiger community proud!