Former Fort Smith Northside basketball standout Releford shines at Connors State; Perry leads UNT to second-round of NIT

Yoni Releford
Yoni Releford

Former Fort Smith Northside girls basketball standout Yoni Releford enjoyed a big freshman season at Connors State College.

Releford was a four-time National Junior College Athletic Association Player of the Week and the Region 2 Player of the Year.

Releford led the Cowgirls with 21.3 points per game, shooting 44% from the field and nearly 37% from beyond the 3-point line.

She is a finalist for National Freshman of the Year.

In addition to her scoring exploits, Releford also averaged 10 rebounds per game. She poured in a career-high 46 points during a Feb. 20 loss to Western Oklahoma State.

Releford scored 30 or more points five other times and finished the season with 647 points.

Connors State finished 18-12 overall, losing to the NOC-Enid Lady Jets in the semifinals of the NJCAA Region 2 tournament in Muskogee.

Perry scores 21 in NIT win

The National Invitational Tournament wasn't where the North Texas Mean Green were hoping to spend part of March, but now that they're in, they're happy to still be playing.

Former Spiro standout Tylor Perry scored 21 points to power the Mean Green to a 69-53 win over Alcorn State in the first round of the NIT.

Perry, the Conference USA Player of the Year, also had six rebounds and a pair of rebounds to pace UNT to its 27th victory of the season. Perry leads with the Mean Green with 17.2 points per game.

Perry had 19 points in North Texas' regular season finale with Western Kentucky. He finished with 17 points in the team's March 10 finale with UAB in the Conference USA quarterfinals. The Blazers eventually won the C-USA Tourney but, like UNT, were bound for the NIT this week as well.

Pitts stacking up the hits

Paxton Pitts didn't start the 2023 season he was hoping for. The former Roland athlete, who played for the Fort Smith Sportsman's state champion American Legion team last summer, was hitting just a .136 before collecting two hits in the first game of the Vikings' March 4 doubleheader with LaBette College.

It's not necessarily how you start but how you finish.

Over his last eight games, Pitts is batting .400 (8-for-20) with a homer and two doubles. The former Roland standout athlete had a season-best 3-for-4 outing during CASC's Game 2 loss to LaBette College on March 4.

For the season, Pitts is hitting .317 with a homer and three doubles.

Pitts and the Vikings were to open a four-game weekend series with UA-Rich Mountain Friday. Pitts drove in a run with a first-inning single.

Eastern hits rough patch

It's been a tale of two months for the Eastern Oklahoma State Mountaineers.

First, the good.

Eastern won its first eight games of the season.

Then the bad: They haven't won since.

Freshman McKenzie Martin (Alma) is doing her part, however. Martin is hitting .425 with three home runs and 14 RBIs. She's also 5-4 on the mound with a 3.07 earned run average.

In addition to her four home runs, Martin has four doubles and a .500 on-base percentage. She's struck out just six times in 46 plate appearances.

Eastern travels to Poteau on Tuesday to face the Carl Albert State College Vikings.

Brewer readies for BCI tourney

A pair of late losses appeared to have sealed Tevin Brewer and Duquesne's postseason dreams.

The Dukes, who had climbed 10 games over the .500 mark, dropped their regular season finale to Fordham, and then lost to La Salle (81-70) at the Atlantic-10 Tournament in Brooklyn.

But the team did catch a postseason break after all. The Dukes (20-120 were set to play Rice this weekend as part of the BCI (Basketball Congress International) postseason tournament.

Duquesne posted a 20-win season for only the third time since 1981. Brewer, a former Fort Smith Northside standout, scored 12 points and grabbed three rebounds in the team's March 10 loss to LaSalle.

Brewer has appeared in all but four of the team's 32 games this season, averaging 7.4 points per game. He had a season-high 17 points during a Feb. 8 win over George Mason.

Brewer is a graduate assistant for Duquesne's program.

Carlisle rides hot streak

Former Fort Smith Southside baseball standout Kent Carlisle extended his hitting streak to seven Friday with a two-out single in the first inning of Carl Albert's doubleheader opener with the University of Arkansas-Rich Mountain.

Carlisle had at least one hit in the four games he appeared in last week in Western Oklahoma, going 4-for-11 with one RBI.

Carlisle is currently batting .319 with one homer and 10 RBIs.

Before his recent hot streak, that's seen the former Maverick collect 11 hits in his last nine games, Carlisle was hitting just .181.

Two weeks ago against Eastern Oklahoma, Carlisle was 2-for-2 with a pair of runs scored in the team's 11-6 victory. Over his last seven games, Carlisle is hitting .440 (11-for-25) with two extra base hits and six RBIs.

The versatile freshman can play both third base and the outfield for coach Paul Pulley's squad.

Carroll still crushing it for CASC

Slow and steady.

Reed Carroll has clubbed four of his six home runs over the last 12 games for the Carl Albert State College Vikings.

The former Greenwood product is hitting .328.

During that stretch, he's had 10 hits and knocked in nine runs. He's batting .286 (10-for-35) during the aforementioned 12 games, which included an 0-for-14 stretch.

Overall, more than half of Carroll's 20 hits (11) have gone for extra bases -- six homers, three doubles, and two triples. Teammate Preston Curtis of Flower Mound, Texas, leads the team with eight homers and 23 RBIs.

Carroll and the Vikings travel to Connors State on Monday and begin a weekend set with Northern Oklahoma College-Tonkawa on Thursday. Carroll extended his hitting streak to six during the opener of Friday's doubleheader with UA-Rich Mountain.

Schilling leading UAFS attack

Matt Schilling continues to lead UAFS in hitting.

The Lions' star infielder was hitting .324 prior to the start of a weekend series with Texas A&M-Kingsville. UAFS had dropped nine in a row dating back to Feb. 24.

Schilling, the former Southside standout, is doing his part, however, collecting a team-high 24 hits, including a team-high 11 doubles, four homers and 15 RBIs.

He went 3-for-9 with a double and triple in the series loss to Texas A&M-International.

The Lions (6-16, 4-16) return home March 24 to open a weekend series against St. Edward's University.

Clark hitting at high pace

Despite extending his hitting streak to 11 games, University of the Ozarks standout Cole Clark actually saw his batting average dip to .367 this week. Clark went 1-for-3 and 1-for-5, respectively, during a weekend series in Memphis.

The 11-game hitting streak is the longest of his collegiate career.

Since starting the 2023 season 0-for-7, Clark has had five multi-hit games during his hitting streak.

He had three hits, including a homer, during the Eagles' 10-4 win over Hardin-Simmons on March 5.

Clark batted .347 as a sophomore at UA-Rich Mountain last season, including three homers, eight doubles and 51 hits. He scored 41 runs and drove in 34.

Short hops

University of the Ozarks freshman Chloe Weathers (Clarksville) was fifth in the women's 5000 meters at the Hendrix Relays. ... Carl Albert freshman reliever Izac Sizemore (Sallisaw) has allowed just two runs over his last 10 innings of work. ... Arkansas Tech reliever Kaila Cartwright (Greenwood) has allowed just three runs over her last six outings (12 innings). ... Chloe Ray (Fort Smith Northside) went 1-for-3 during a recent win over Carl Albert. The UA-Rich Mountain junior is hitting .357 in 10 games. ... Colton Sagely (Greenwood) smacked his first homer of the season during Carl Albert's weekend series with Western Oklahoma. Sagely is batting .256 for the season. ... UAFS freshman Sammy Seeger (Van Buren) snapped an 0-for-12 hitless streak recently with a pinch-hit single. ... Brandon Ulmer (Booneville) is hitting .205 (11-for-78) at UAFS.. ... Dru Didway (Sallisaw/Carl Albert) went 1-for-6 in two games for the University of the Ozarks recently. He's batting an even .300 for the season. ... Carl Albert left-hander Logan Taylor (Alma) struck out Western Oklahoma's Tyriq Kemp (Rottingham, Netherlands) three times recently. Taylor worked a career-long three innings in relief.

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