I had a chance to sit in on one of the practices recently at Little Rock Christian Academy where I was joined by Louisiana Tech head coach, Brooke Stoehr. The team is no stranger to college coaches in their gym with Kentucky, Memphis, Kansas State, Missouri State, and Arkansas State all bringing coaches the same week. A lot of hype is around the program right now with multiple girls holding high major offers and the team is returning all but one player from a successful run a season ago. The Warriors finished 18-10 last season while being in the incredibly competitive 5A Central and all of their losses were to playoff teams. A pretty good argument could be made the 5A is the most competitive and deepest conference in the state so having a 60% win rate while also being one of the youngest teams in the conference is impressive to say the least. LRCA is looking to improve on that mark and make a run in the playoffs come March. That possibility for the team to take that next step is largely in the hands of their point guard, Reagan Bradley.
The class of ’19 guard is one of the top players in the state and she has the offers and the stats to back that up. Bradley currently holds offers from Memphis, Old Dominion, UALR, Missouri State, Southeast Missouri State, and Harding. That offer sheet will at least double this time next year. She is coming off a year where she averaged 19.3pts, 7rebs, 6ast, and 2 steals per game as a sophomore. Bradley was able to get everyone on the floor involved last season while putting up nearly 20ppg which is rarely seen from a sophomore at the point. During the practice I sat in, everything seemed to roll over from last season, plus more. This team goes with Reagan Bradley, but the talent is around her for a possibility at a state championship.
"Reagan Bradley is a heady player who averaged nearly 20 points a game, but also led the team in rebounds and assist last year and loves to share the ball. She's unselfish and wants to make her teammates better. She's done a good job of improving her jump shot in the offseason, but also got in the weight room, and got much stronger. She's a good leader, on and off the floor." - Coach Rooney
Class of 2021 forward, Wynter Rogers will have a huge role for LRCA regardless of being a freshman. Rogers currently holds offers from Michigan State, Memphis, and Arkansas State. Offensively she can score in many ways but was all over the mid-range jumper during practice. Rogers also grabbed offensive rebound after offensive rebound during the scrimmage. A walking double-double this season? Possibly. It would not surprise me if she found her way to over 20 this year even though she’s probably the youngest player on the court each game. You don’t get an offer from Michigan State at 14 unless you are ready for varsity basketball and she is more than willing.
"Wynter Rogers is a 5'11" true small forward, but in high school can play 1-5. She's strong and skilled. For a freshman she brings a lot of toughness and comes with a higher basketball IQ. She's got a special work ethic, and has done a great job adjusting to the weight room. She brings a lot of versatility to our lineup with her passing and scoring ability. Such a hard worker and a hard nosed kid. She really does a good job crashing the boards, and challenging every rebound. We've spent a lot of time in the offseason on footwork and block out positioning." - Coach Rooney
The offers do not stop with those 2. Class of ’18 forward, Adrianne Chambers holds an offer from Crowley’s Ridge. She averaged 10.4pts, 8.1reb, and 1.2ast per game last season and many people around the program are expecting a lot of offers to come in late for her. Class of ’18 guard, Emma Kelley holds an offer from CBC and put up 10.1pts, 4.5reb, and 2.7ast per game last season. Crowley’s Ridge also extended an offer out to Maggie Pinkston. The class of ’18 forward is coming off a knee injury but is expected to play big minutes this year. Others who stood out in practice were sophomores Jaylen McGowan and Kaylee Hooper and senior, Victoria Best. Kaylee Hooper looks to be the team’s only true center at 6’1”. Touch around the rim is something you can’t really teach which is why Hooper could make a name for herself very soon.
(Top left to right: Reagan Bradley, Maggie Pinkston, Wynter Rogers, #14, and Adrianne Chamber. Bottom left to right: Emma Kelley, Victoria Best, Jaylen McGowan, and SK Peeler.)
I got a chance to speak with Coach Rogers and Coach Rooney after practice and both coaches are optimistic about this upcoming year but also reasonable.
"We're a year older, and have really spent the last year trying to improve and fix the things that got us beat. We are blessed to have a great culture developing at LRCA. The gym opens at 5:45a.m. and we have girls in there every week day all the way down to 6th grade trying to improve their game. Our biggest strength is our strong, smart, and dedicated seniors. Victoria Best, Emma Kelley, Adianne Chambers, and Maggie Pinkston have been through the fire of a disappointing season and a very tough conference." - Coach Rooney
The team is still very young and a lot is riding on consistent shooting. The warriors are only losing one player from last year in Aspyn Satterwhite, but she also happened to be the schools record holder in 3pt made. A lot is looking up though. The Warriors have 3-4 girls who are capable of 20+ each night and senior leadership. This team really can beat anyone in the state if the outside shots are falling. With that being said, I’m putting my prediction for them at 21-5 in the regular season and the warriors are playoff bound.