For their recent efforts, Lavaca’s Luke Watson (left) and Bergman’s Maddi Holt (right) are the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Players of the Week.
Maddi Holt of Bergman showed basketball fans at Class 5A Russellville last week why she is regarded as one of the best players in the state regardless of classification.
Holt averaged 24 points in three games to lead Class 3A Bergman to the championship of the Holiday Hoops for Hunger Tournament at the Russellville gym. Holt was at her best in the championship game when she scored 37 points in a 69-54 win over the Lady Cyclones.
For her effort, Holt is the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Girls Player of the Week. Luke Watson of Lavaca is the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Boys Player of the Week.
Bergman trailed by 10 points to Russellville before Holt and Kara Ponder, her all-state teammate, led Bergman (22-0) to a comeback victory in the championship game. Holt and Ponder each made four 3-pointers in the second half and Holt was clutch at the free-throw line, where she made 16 consecutive free throws after missing her first attempt on the night.
For the tournament, Holt was 17 of 18 from the line, 11 of 18 on 3-point attempts, and 11 of 20 on 2-point field goals. She averaged 5.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals in the three tournament games against Russellville, Van Buren and Dardanelle.
“She’s determined when the game is on the line to put the team on her shoulders and win the game,” Bergman coach James Halitzka said. “She missed her first one against Russellville, then hit 16 straight. That’s the type of player she is.”
Top players can affect games in different ways, including on the defensive end. Lavaca held Ozark without a field goal in the second quarter and defeated the host Hillbillies 40-18 in the championship game of the OZK Classic. Watson, a 5-foot-11 guard, scored eight points in the game. But it was his ability as a shutdown defender that earned him Most Valuable Player in the tournament.
“Luke’s as strong as an ox,” Lavaca coach Renner Reed said. “He’s a go-getter who has his own lawn mowing business. He doesn’t take any days off and that shows by his work on the court. He can score, he averages about 12 points a game. But he’s our defensive specialist and he takes a lot of pride in shutting down the other team’s top scorer. A guy like that is worth 30 points a game to me.”
Lavaca (18-1) earned tournament wins over Hector and County Line before taking down Ozark in the championship game of the OZK Classic.
6A-WEST CONFERENCE BASKETBALL STANDINGS
Fort Smith Southside^0-0^6-6
Fort Smith Southside^0-1^5-7
Fayetteville at Bentonville West
Rogers at Fort Smith Southside
Bentonville at Springdale Har-Ber
Springdale at Rogers Heritage
Rogers at Fayetteville
Fort Smith Southside at Springdale
Springdale Har-Ber at Rogers Heritage
6A-CENTRAL CONFERENCE STANDINGS
Fort Smith Northside^0-0^4-0
North Little Rock^0-0^9-3
Little Rock Central^0-0^7-5
Little Rock Catholic^0-0^7-5
Little Rock Southwest^0-0^2-0
Fort Smith Northside^0-4^13-0
North Little Rock^0-0^12-2
Little Rock Central^0-0^11-2
Mount St. Mary^0-0^4-9
Little Rock Southwest^0-0^0-0
Bryant at Fort Smith Northside
North Little Rock at Little Rock Central
Cabot at Little Rock Catholic