FARMINGTON -- Six girls from Farmington's 5A West Conference tournament champions and state quarterfinal girls basketball team (26-6 overall, 12-3 conference) coached by Brad Johnson received postseason honors.
That number rings significant because only five girls play at a time. All five Farmington starters: Makenna Vanzant, Madisyn Pense, Alexis Roach, Camryn Journagan and Joelle Tidwell, were named All-Conference with a sixth, Audrey Culpepper, receiving All-Conference honorable mention coming off the bench.
Two players, Vanzant and Pense, were All-State selections; while Roach was named to the All-State tournament team.
The resilient Vanzant stormed back from the hospital bed to land on the 5A West All-Conference and 5A All-State girls basketball teams.
After leading the 5A West in scoring as a freshman, Vanzant's sophomore year began with her hospitalized with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, a life-threatening illness that kept her in Arkansas Children's Hospital at Little Rock for 16 days. Miraculously she was back for the season opener on Nov. 27 at the Prairie Grove arena.
Vanzant bounced back to play 712 minutes, despite having her early season minutes regulated by doctors. She appeared in 31 games, averaging 23.0 minutes, 14.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.0 steals, and 0.5 blocks-per-game. As the season progressed, Vanzant became a factor as a rebounding guard pulling down 3.5 defensive rebounds and nearly one offensive rebound.
For the most part, Vanzant stayed out of foul trouble. She averaged 1.6 fouls-per-game and 2.9 turnovers as lead guard and primary ball-handler. Vanzant scored 445 points, becoming a consistent threat from 3-point range. She made 47-of-139 shots from downtown for 34 percent. Vanzant was Farmington's best free-throw shooter, making 156-of-191 free throws for 82 percent, which was often crucial with her playing point-guard in crunch time.
Pense was named 5A West All-Conference, and 5A All-State by disrupting opponents on both ends of the floor. Pense played in all 32 games, logging 23.5 minutes-per-contest. She scored at a clip of 12.9 points each time out to go with 2.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.8 steals, and 0.1 blocks.
Pense was second on the team in steals with 59 while only committing 26 fouls measuring out at a 2:27 steal-to-foul ratio. Pense's awareness led the team in total deflections with 70.
Pense developed a proficiency for driving past defenders chasing her on the perimeter to get to the basket. She connected on 48-of-94 shots for 51 percent inside her familiar station as a notable 3-point shooter. She was successful on 95-of-253 trifectas for a solid 38 percent. Pense played 752 minutes the most of any Lady Cardinal. She was good on 31-0f-47 foul shots for 66 percent.
Roach was honored as 5A West All-Conference, and 5A All-State Tournament team. Roach transferred from Siloam Springs. During her junior year at Farmington, she took the court 32 times as a Lady Cardinal playing 20.3 minutes-per-game. Roach scored in double figures, producing 11.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.1 blocks. Roach typically avoided foul trouble. She was whistled for 1.8 fouls-per-game while committing 1.8 turnovers-per-game.
Roach played 650 minutes emerging as a new dynamic for the Lady Cardinals as an athletic player capable of finishing around the basket using her quickness to slash past defenders. Roach was a frequent target of her teammates catching outlet passes on-the-run to get easy transition buckets. She made 143-of-246 field goal attempts leading the team in overall field goal percentage at 58.
Journagan concluded an impactful basketball career at Farmington by winning 5A West All-Conference recognition. Journagan's senior leadership anchored the team through many storms. Her constant presence in 32 games, averaging 20.3 minutes-per-contest, 6.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.1 blocks stabilized a team that seemed in constant transition as injured or ill players returned one-by-one to the lineup. Journagan averaged 1.6 turnovers and fouls were not a problem with 1.3 fouls-per-game.
Journagan maintained a 1.37 assist-to-turnover ratio, and was fourth in minutes played (649). She finished fourth among the Lady Cardinals with 68 field goals made.
Tidwell played center at 5-9, successfully fronting many a taller opponent in the 6A/5A blended District 1. She earned enough respect to be named 5A West All-Conference. As a sophomore, Tidwell played in 31 games, averaging 18.2 minutes. She scored 5.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.5 blocks against 1.6 turnovers and 2.2 fouls-per-contest.
Johnson utilized Tidwell's ability to handle the ball, isolating her and allowing her to drive to the hoop against bigger centers. She attempted the fourth-most free throws on the team (68) due to her ability to take the ball to the rack.
Culpepper received All-Conference honorable mention as a force off the bench. For her sophomore year, Culpepper appeared in 29 games checking in for 13.3 minutes-per-contest, mostly off the bench. She provided a spark with 5.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.4 blocks. Culpepper's average of 1.0-fouls-per-contest represented another prominent player, who kept herself available. She did have a 1.7 turnover average.
Culpepper spotted up on the perimeter, making 25-of-58 shots from beyond the 3-point arc for a sizzling 43 percent, the best marksmanship of any Lady Cardinal. Her length allowed her to also play in the paint. She topped the squad in 2-point field goal percentage, dropping 34-of-55 shots for 62 percent. Culpper was second in free-throw percentage as well. She knocked down 19-of-24 free throws for 79 percent.
The fact that Farmington was only whistled for 10.1 fouls-per-game serves as a testament to the effectiveness of playing solid defense beginning with the Lady Cardinals' footwork. Despite employing a full-court, up-tempo offensive game-plan much of the time, Farmington limited turnovers to 12.2-per-game.Sports on 07/04/2018
Print Headline: Farmington Girls Basketball Highlights