Central Arkansas Christian Lady Mustangs
October 30, 2011
Coach: Steve Quattlebaum (17th season, 359-134 overall)
Assistant coach: Cade Smith
2010-11 record: 19-9 overall (8-4 conference), reached quarterfinals of Class 5A State Tournament
Returning starters: Haley Hatcher (5-7 senior guard, 12 points per game); Falan Miller (5-10 sophomore forward, 8 ppg); Larkin Hatcher (5-4 senior point guard); Taylor Evans (5-8 senior forward); Kiristen Camper (5-7 senior forward). Haley Hatcher is a four-year starter. Miller was the team’s second-leading scorer as a ninth-grader and was third in rebounding; she can play inside or out. Larkin Hatcher, a three-year starter, is a good 3-point shooter (made five in one game against Mount St. Mary). Evans came on at the end of last season in scoring and rebounding, Quattlebaum said. Camper is a defensive specialist who was fourth on the team in rebounding last year.
Best inside players: Kendall Krueger (6-0 junior post); Nicole Bowen (6-0 junior post); Sydnie Jones (6-0 freshman). Krueger struggled with injuries last year, but Quattlebaum said she could be important this season if she can stay healthy. She has lots of potential. Brown saw limited action last year but improved. She has an opportunity to provide help inside, the coach said. Jones averaged 20 ppg on a 25-1 junior high team last year. “We expect great things from her,” Quattlebaum said.
Best outside players: The experience-laden Hatchers are the most obvious returners. Quattlebaum said Miller, Camper and Evans could all play inside or out. Danielle Jayroe (5-6 junior) is much improved from last year. Emma Word (5-4 senior) gave the Lady Mustangs a spark in some games late last year, the coach said. “The point guard of the future is 5-4 ninth-grader Sarah Butler,” Quattlebuam said. “She was the leader in assists and second in scoring on the junior team last year.”
How will you match/exceed/fall short of your success from last year? Quattlebaum said he thought the Lady Mustangs could exceed last year’s finish. “We have four seniors with a lot of experience and great attitudes who are determined to have a great year and some very talented young players who could have an immediate impact on our team,” he said.
Strengths of the team: CAC has a good mixture of experience and youth. “We have a group of seniors who feel like they have something to prove,” Quattlebaum said. “We have a good mixture of perimeter and posts. We should be better defensively, and we will be more athletic.”
Weaknesses of the team: Quattlebaum said his team could be young, with a sophomore and two freshmen on the floor at the same time. “We must get better defensively and on rebounding,” he said. “We didn’t play together a lot this summer or in the preseason.”
Games to watch: There are several. Pulaski Academy is one of the top teams in Class 4A and a great rivalry game. Little Rock Christian is another great rivalry and the two-time defending conference champion. L.R. Christian reached the state semifinals last year. Camden Fairview won state championships in recent years, and CAC has had some great games against the Lady Cardinals in the past. The Lady Mustangs will also play North Little Rock, one of the top teams in any classification in Arkansas for the last several years, to open the season. Harding Academy of Class 3A could provide a test at Rhodes Field House on the Harding University campus.
Toughest opponent: North Little Rock and Pulaski Academy. “North Little Rock has great talent and is well-coached,” Quattlebaum said. “They mercy-ruled us last time we played over there. PA is a very good team. Their new coach is Rick Treadway. We had a good rivalry with him at Sheridan. He does a great job.”
College prospects: Miller, the 5-10 sophomore, is already getting some contact from colleges, Quattlebaum said. “She is a very versatile player,” he said. “She can play inside and out. She can shoot it, rebound and defend. Sydnie Jones (the 6-0 freshman) is an amazing athlete and has a chance to be very good in the Adrianne Davie-Whitney Zachariason mold. Haley Hatcher has committed to Ouachita Baptist University to play soccer.”
In a nutshell: Quattlebaum said his team should be very exciting with good talent and experience. “Our good young players may be talented enough to vie for a state championship if we get good leadership and play together,” he said.