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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Longhorns warm up for basketball season

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The annual Black and Orange basketball game at Viola High School on Oct. 4, was more than just an inter-squad game to kick-off the basketball season. It was a chance for boys head coach Bruce Adams and girls head coach Tommy Trivitt to get a better idea of how their teams would perform in a chaotic environment.

The night started off at 5 p.m., with the junior high girl's team dividing up and facing off. That was followed by a perfomance by the mini-pom squad, a group of future Viola cheerleaders, who were led by several current cheerleaders.

The junior high boys were next on the court. The eighth and ninth graders played the first quarter and, in the second quarter, the ninth graders were replaced on the court by seventh graders. After the junior high boys, the pom squad came on to the court for a routine.

Next up was the senior high Lady Longhorns. The team lost key players and its coach, after finishing with a 35-6 record last season. Adams coached the girls last season, but has taken over as boys head coach. On the court, the Longhorns have to replace two girls that played in the Arkansas High School Coaches Association all-star games in July. The void left by the graduation of Leslie Shrable and Michaela Thompson will hopefully be filled by a strong class of sophomores, including two 5'8" post players.

New coach Tommy Trivitt said he was pleased with what he saw at the Black and Orange games.

"I feel like things went pretty good. I think the girls were trying really hard to play well. And I think that affected their shots. I think it was just nerves," Trivitt said. "I think it will actually help us in the long run having [the Black and Orange game]. Maybe it will get the jitters out of them before we go into the jamborees next week."

The coach added the game was a good test of how much effort the various players will give in a game situation.

"It lets you see who is willing to put out a little more at the right time. They might not give more in practice, but they will here because everybody's watching them," Trivitt said. "I saw a lot of good things from people I've been waiting to see it from for a while now."

Trivitt indicated he had the team's starting five picked out, based on practices, but after seeing how well some of the girls performed in a game setting, he now has only his top eight or nine picked out.

Halfway through the senior high girls game, play was stopped because a pig had arrived. A "kiss the pig" fundraiser for the junior class gave students the chance to donate money to have their "favorite" teacher kiss a young pig. A member of the senior high girls team also had to pucker up.

The senior boys game was a shoot out, plain and simple. After two 10-minute quarters, the score was tied at 40. The third and final 10-minute quarter was a point explosion, with the teams putting up a combined 52 points. When the final buzzer sounded, the home team, led by seniors Chris Shaffer, Skylar Robbins and sophomore Corby May, had won 72-60.

Adams said, while a lot was going on in the gym, he didn't have to try to keep the senior boys focused on basketball. "It's not hard to keep them focused on an inter-squad game. I'd hate to have all that stuff going on if we were playing a key conference game or something," Adams said, laughing.

"This was their first opportunity to get out under the lights and play in front of people. I'm not always a big fan of inter-squad games, but tonight I thought was really productive. I thought the kids played hard and played really well. I think it helped us get ready for the when we go out there for a real game," Adams said. "Overall, I was pleasantly surprised that we played as well as we did this early and in an inter-squad game."

The junior high teams will play in a jamboree at Izard County High School on Oct. 9. The senior high teams will do the same on Oct. 12. The season officially tips off on Oct. 16, with a tough early season test against the Weiner Cardnals for all four teams.

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