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The making of a champion, Part 2

March 20, 2013

Malvern Lady Leopards head coach Jess Martin and assistant coach Cleveland Gordon, who has been with the team four years, have a theory with their practices.
They aim to make the practices as hard as they can so when it comes time for an actual game, the players are having fun.
That’s not to say that they don’t occasionally have fun in practice as well.
Martin praises Gordon’s role on the team whenever he gets the chance.
“He is the enforcer — the bad guy coach,” Martin said jokingly. “He has a great rapport with the kids. He works hard and does a lot of stuff that goes unnoticed.”

Mascots come in all shapes and sizes

March 20, 2013

Here at the Malvern Daily Record office yesterday, Editor Mark Bivens and I began discussing the variety of strange mascots from around the country.
I have always had an affinity for unique mascots. I think that has to do with the colleges in this state having a higher percentage of one-of-a-kind nicknames.

For the full column, see Wednesday's Malvern Daily Record

The making of a champion, Part 1

March 15, 2013

What does it take to be a champion? One could say skill and determination — and they wouldn’t be wrong.
One of the biggest assets to a team on a championship run is emotion, and the Malvern High School Lady Leopards have plenty of that.
Emotion gives you that extra edge that makes you want it just a little bit more than your opponent.
When the Lady Leopards got knocked out of the tournament a year ago, the primary reactions I noticed from the team was disappointment verging on anger.

Lady Leopards win 4A state title

March 12, 2013

Saturday, March 9, 2013 — that is a date that many in this area will never forget, especially not the members of the 2012-2013 Malvern Lady Leopards basketball team.
It was at 11 a.m. that morning that their march toward history began its final chapter as they took the court in the championship game of the Arkansas Class 4A state tournament.

Poyen teams knock off Hot Springs

March 6, 2013

The Indian Baseball Classic in Poyen has drawn teams from classifications ranging from 1A (Ouachita High School) to 6A (Wilbur Mills University Studies High School) and from areas as far away as Woodlawn High School.
In back-to-back nights, teams from Poyen, in the 2A Classification, took on Hot Springs, which is in the 5A Classification.
On Monday evening, the Poyen Lady Indians played their first game of the year, downing the Lady Trojans 10-0 in just five innings.

For the full story, see Wednesday's Malvern Daily Record.

There's no understanding this Razorback team

March 6, 2013

I give up. I’ve tried to make heads or tails of this season all year long, but the 2012-2013 Arkansas Razorbacks make no sense whatsoever.
Just when I thought apathy was setting back in with me and this team, they blow the doors off of Florida (and follow that up with a horrific road loss). Then they outplay Kentucky in every facet of the game (only to be blown out by Missouri in the next game).

For the full column, see Wednesday's Malvern Daily Record.

Malvern Championship Game time set

March 4, 2013

The Malvern Lady Leopards basketball team defeated Star City 33-23 in the semifinals of the 4A state tournament to advance to the championship game.
Malvern will play Prairie Grove at 11 a.m. Saturday at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock.

Lady Leopards prepare for run at title

February 28, 2013

Heading into the 2012-2013 basketball season, few teams (if any) had as much hype surrounding them as the Malvern Lady Leopards.
I’ll admit, after watching a lot of their games last year, including the ones in the state tournament, I was in that group.
They had a solid core coming back, with talent at every position on the court.
In short, everyone was going to see them coming this year. And that is what makes their run so impressive.
The Lady Leopards stumbled out of the gate, falling to one of the top teams in the state, Jacksonville, by 10 points in a tournament at Little Rock Hall.

Malvern Leopards eliminated, Poyen Indians and Lady Indians advance

February 28, 2013

On Wednesday evening, three of the remaining five teams from this area were in action in their respective state tournaments.
The Malvern Leopards, who entered the 4A state tournament in Cave City as the No. 4 seed from the south region, were up against Booneville, the No. 3 seed from the north region.
The Leopards found themselves down 31-24 at the half, but fought back with a furious rally in the third quarter to hold a 45-42 lead going into the final eight minutes.

Keeping your head up a must in sports

February 28, 2013

We’ve all seen it happen. If you played a sport yourself, you may have done it at one time or another yourself.
It’s when a player makes a bonehead play that turns the ball over or thinks he was fouled on a shot and instead of immediately getting back on defense, he (or she) will stand there for a moment and pout before jogging back down the court.
I see it all the time on the college level. A player will be knocked down and a foul should have been called.

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