When Thamail Morgan left his troubles behind in Newport, he never could have imagined what came next.
FAYETTEVILLE — The matchup with Troy is Arkansas’ last nonconference game of the regular season, although it’s not clear whether it will be easier or harder than the game next week with Southeastern Conference foe Mississippi State.
Troy has won seven straight games and appears to be the class of the Sun Belt Conference. It’s the type of team that can seriously point to a game like this as an opportunity for an upset. In fact, given the way the Razorbacks routed Texas A&M earlier this year, this might be the toughest nonconference game on Arkansas’ schedule.
SOUTHSIDE — The First National Banking Company finals are set and Guard-circulation area basketball teams are well represented.
Saturday night at 6, the Southside Junior Lady Southerners, tourney hosts, will take on the Cedar Ridge Junior Lady Timberwolves, another area team, in the first title game.
Following at 7:15 will be the Izard County Junior Cougars, another area team, against the Riverview Junior Rangers.
WALNUT RIDGE — Syeeda Echols poured in a career-high 26 points and K.K. Hodges dropped in 23 more to lead the Lyon College Pipers to a 79-64 nonconference victory over the Williams Baptist College Lady Eagles on Thursday night.
“She’s certainly capable of putting up numbers like that regularly,” Lyon Coach Tracy Stewart-Lange said. “She’s a really good shooter, but I don’t think her focus has been to score. She’s been playing extremely well for us. She’s rebounding and taking care of the ball, but I think her main focus and where she has been improving is her defense.”
Last year, Arkansas actually had an easier, albeit still difficult, time beating a good Tulsa team, 30-23 than escaping more obscure Western Illinois and Louisiana-Monroe teams, 28-24 and 28-27.
This year, going into Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. nonconference finale with the Troy Trojans at Razorback Stadium, the 5-4 Razorbacks steamrolled nonconference foes Missouri State, Texas A&M and Eastern Michigan, 48-10, 47-19 and 63-27, respectively.
What’s been the difference in second-year Coach Bobby Petrino’s Razorbacks this year?
Ryan Mallett is right on schedule.
The Arkansas quarterback has been exactly what the Razorbacks expected after sitting out last season as a transfer. With his strong arm and seemingly limitless confidence, Mallett has helped the Hogs become the Southeastern Conference’s highest-scoring team — and this week he’ll have a chance to set the school’s single-season passing record.
NEWPORT — Bruce Hill, Jason Horn, Tyler Vaughn and Kami Kick were winners Sunday at Speedy’s Newport Raceway.
Hill won the street division with Tom Rising and Gary Spicer in tow.
Jason Horn was quicker than Jason Fields and Mike Gamble in the foot brake class.
The top spot in super pro went to Vaughn as Eric Schilly and Harold Finch rode second and third, respectively.
Kick beat Dylan Kick down the line in the junior dragster division as Shane Hill settled for third.
SOUTHSIDE — The Cedar Ridge Junior Timberwolves opened their basketball season here Wednesday night with a 44-22 victory over the Heber Springs Junior Panthers in the First National Banking Company Tournament.
In the other two first-round boys games, Riverview downed Southside 52-30 and Izard County edged Highland 43-39. Semifinal games for girls and boys are scheduled for today. Championship games are set for Saturday.
The final event of the White River Roadrunners Road Race Series is set for Saturday with the running of the Run Wild for a Child 5K, which starts and finishes at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville.
The race is sponsored by the college’s Circle K group and runners can register at the college beginning at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. The cost is $20. The race is scheduled to start at 10.
CAVE CITY — The Cave City Cavewomen overcame a plethora of fouls and missed shots in the first quarter to post a 48-19 season-opening high school basketball win over the Hillcrest Lady Screamin’ Eagles.
Eighteen fouls were called in the first quarter.
Cheyenne Childers, who recently signed with Williams Baptist, led Cave City with 19 points and eight rebounds. Teammates Claire Caldwell and Jessica Hall provided six assists apiece.
Hillcrest attempted 18 free throws, but managed to cash in on just seven.