Head Coach Clay Reeves and his Greenwood Lady Bulldogs (16-2) are up to their old tricks again after starting 5A West conference play with three consecutive blowout wins over Russellville, Van Buren, and Harrison. The highly ranked GHS girls are on a mission to defend their 2022 state title and have a roster loaded with talented and experienced players primed to get the job done. But first they must prove themselves worthy over a two month stretch that includes 14 conference games, and so far they’ve faced little resistance. They travel to Siloam Springs on Tuesday this week before hosting Mountain Home on Friday.
Russellville Lady Cyclones
League play began on Friday, January 6th, when the Lady Bulldogs welcomed to H.B. Stewart Arena the Lady Cyclones of Russellville. But the welcome didn’t last long as the GHS girls took charge early and put the game away by halftime. The Lady Bulldogs won the first quarter, 21-10, and lead 45-16 at the intermission. Greenwood pulled back on the reins offensively in the second half, subbing in numerous players as the mercy rule kicked in. Russellville trailed 72-27 after three periods and eventually lost, 77-42.
Junior Anna Trusty, who became the newest member of Greenwood’s exclusive 1,000-point club, led the Lady Bulldogs in scoring with 21 points while grabbing 11 rebounds and making seven steals. Freshman Izzy Smith drilled four three-pointers and scored 14 points, while senior Mady Cartwright, already a member of the 1,000-point club, added 13 points and had four rebounds. Junior Brooklyn Woolsey scored eight points and freshman Kylah Pearcy had seven points, three rebounds, and three assists.
Van Buren Lady Pointers
Last Tuesday’s conference game at Van Buren wasn’t much of a contest at all as Greenwood dominated the action from the beginning, despite a slow start offensively by the visitors. A double-digit halftime lead quickly ballooned into a mercy rule victory in the second half, sparked by 11 third quarter turnovers by Van Buren leading to 24 points for the Lady Bulldogs. The GHS girls then coasted to an easy 60-28 victory, Greenwood’s defense holding the Lady Pointers to their lowest point production this season.
Anna Trusty had 16 points, three rebounds and three steals to lead Greenwood to its 15th victory on the season and its tenth in succession. Mady Cartwright had 14 points, four rebounds and four assists, while Brooklyn Woolsey added nine points, all on three-pointers, for the Lady Bulldogs.
Harrison Lady Goblins
Last Friday’s return to H.B. Stewart Arena agreed with the Lady Bulldogs, but not so much with their opponents, the Lady Goblins of Harrison. Greenwood’s relentless pressing defense dominated the game from the opening tip, forcing the Harrison girls into making copious turnovers, preventing them from setting up any kind of offense, often unable to get the ball across midcourt.
The Lady Goblins made only one field goal in the first quarter and didn’t make their second until the 3:30 mark of the second period. They trailed 26-4 after eight minutes and 55-15 at the break, involving the mercy rule. The Lady Bulldogs forced 27 turnovers in the first half.
Coach Reeves substituted freely starting in the second stanza, resting most of his starters for the remainder of the half. They returned to the floor for the opening minutes of the third quarter, but were soon back on the bench for good, allowing junior varsity players to finish the game. Greenwood led 79-22 after three periods and rolled to a convincing 89-32 victory. It was the Lady Bulldogs’ 11th straight win.
Mady Cartwright led the team in scoring with 20 points while dishing out four assists, making four steals, and grabbing a pair of rebounds. Anna Trusty had 17 points, five boards, four steals, and three assists. Starter Brooklyn Woolsey chipped in with 13 points as did freshman Kylah Pearcy, coming off the bench.
Following last Friday win over Harrison, Coach Reeves talked to members of the media about that game and the early results in conference play. “I thought tonight was probably our best game, and I hope to keep building on it in practice,” he said. “We’ll get after it [Sunday and Monday]. We have a lot of depth, and we make each other better every day, and I think that helps them.
“We’ve got a lot of players that can play, and they all compete against each other every day, and they love the games. We came out ready to play tonight. We were hitting shots and playing defense and rebounding. All phases of the game were good. We played well,” he added.
Reeves was also pleased to be able to play his entire bench against Harrison. “Fortunately, tonight we played all 23 players and a lot of them scored. We shot the ball well tonight and moved the ball well. Some nights we do and some nights we don’t, but we depend on our defense, rebounding, and ball handling the most.
“We’re starting to get into a rhythm of playing two games a week and practicing a couple days,” explained the coach. “I think getting into the groove of conference play will help them.” The 5A West schedule will continue with Tuesday and Friday games through February with one open date for Greenwood on Tuesday, January 31st.
Asked about Tuesday’s date with the Lady Panthers of Siloam Springs, also unbeaten in league play at 3-0, Coach Reeves said, “They are a very good team. I’ve watched them on film. They’ve got a lot of players back, and our players know they will have to show up. We had close games with them last year and I expect it to be that way this time.” Siloam Springs is 10-7 overall this season.