By Tammy Curtis, Managing Editor
The Mammoth Spring Lady Bears made school history Friday. They are the Runners up for the 1A State Championship. The Lady Bears played a very hard and close game, but could not hold off the Norfork Lady Panthers in Hot Springs.
The Lady Bears have displayed their exceptional athleticism all season long, checking all the boxes, first as Conference Champions, then District, Regional, Sweet 16, Elite8, Final Four and finally, bringing home a Runner up for State 1A Championship for the first time in school history.
While undoubtedly the win was what they longed for, and the loss bittersweet, they have no reason to hang their heads. These ladies showed the state what teamwork is all about.
Besides being great athletes on the court, the ladies also supported their opposing team honoring a member of the Norfork Lady Panthers Team who passed away last week. They wore pins in honor of Norfork’s #11 Taylor Ferretti. Undoubtedly, Ms. Ferretti’s family is very proud of their daughter’s team taking the win.
The past few weeks have been surreal for the Lady Bears. Coach Scott Small said, “Man, what a week for these kids. They played Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, hopped on a bus Wednesday, stayed five nights in a hotel together, battled through three state tournament rounds, and still managed to have the focus and determination to come out and earn a chance to compete for a state title on Friday. “Mentally tough” doesn’t even begin to cover it. I am incredibly proud of every single one of them, everyone is. This week has been a huge success and stepping stone for our program. First time in school history that girls basketball has advanced to the final four, let alone a title game.”
He went on to say, “Bear Nation, you have been tremendous. The kids appreciate it and value the support more than you know. Our crowd and student sections have been some of the best in the state tournament this week, and I hope there is a convoy of blue headed to Hot Springs on Friday to help us close this thing out the right way.”
And close it out they did, with great attitudes and sportsmanship, the Lady Bears gave it their all and congratulated their opponent. The Lady Bears were fed by various businesses and treated like the queens of the court they are, they were also the guests of honor at a huge pep rally at school on Thursday afternoon before their departure to the State Finals. They were then led out of town in grand fashion Thursday afternoon as they headed to the Hot Springs Convention Center to make school history.
With a final score of 48-43, the impeccable season the Lady Bears had will forever give them memories and allow them to be stronger next year.