Once again, the ranked Spring Hill Lady Bears basketball team eye their chance for the program's second state title as they'll return to the 2018 Class 2A Girls State Tournament to compete in the quarterfinals Friday night facing Marmaduke/Westside at 7 p.m. at White County Central High School Gymnasium in Judsonia.

Once again, the ranked Spring Hill Lady Bears basketball team eye their chance for the program's second state title as they'll return to the 2018 Class 2A Girls State Tournament to compete in the quarterfinals Friday night facing Marmaduke/Westside at 7 p.m. at White County Central High School Gymnasium in Judsonia. 

The Lady Bears have made some impressive noise on the hardwood thus far this season looking to be one of the top contenders to win the Class 2A state title for 2018.

The Lady Bears head into the state tournament as the No. 2 seed from the south after finishing the 2A South Regional Tournament runner-ups last week hosted in Poyen. With a 25-4 overall record, the Lady Bears are ranked as one of the top teams in the Class 2A girls classification.

Throughout the season, the Lady Bears have provided a dominance of victories over the opponents similar to the 2013-14 undefeated 35-0 Spring Hill girls state championship team.

This year's Lady Bears squad has produced a lot of season success with a productive bench that has the opportunity to challenge their way through the state tournament competition for a return trip back to Hot Springs for the finals.

After finishing the OBU tournament 1-2, the Lady Bears began to find their identity as a team and went on an impressive winning-streak into the second half of the 2017-18 basketball schedule.

The Lady Bears clinched back to back 2A-7 East District Tournament titles as well as the conference title for the No. 1 seed into the district tournament.

The Lady Bears ended their conference and home season schedule unbeaten this season.

Their four losses this season have came against state tourney caliber teams of Class 4A Star City, Class 3A Prescott, Class 2A ranked Caddo Hills and Hempstead County Blevins that was a state tourney qualifier last season.

Spring Hill Lady Bears head coach Roy Whatley continues to keep a competitive - fighting playing mentality for his senior high girls basketball team. Whatley looks for his Lady Bears to stay motivated and highly-spirited to bring the fight to the hardwood as they represent Hempstead County through another tough road in state tourney competition for 2018.

Since Whatley's return to coach basketball in Spring Hill School District, he's guided the senior and junior high girls basketball teams to success with conference tourney titles won in both programs.

Despite the Lady Bears falling short to win tournaments during the regular season at OBU, Bradley and 2A South Regional, the Lady Bears captured a consecutive tourney title in the Magnet Cove Shootout and now aim their focus to win the ultimate tourney at state but knows the task present's a challenge due to the level of talent the Class 2A division showcases. 

The Lady Bears have a variety of talent led by the senior leadership of Christy Randle, Maegan Ward, Maleigh Moore, Jessi Park, Graycee Barham, Momoka "Momo" Maeda, Whitnee Lee, Claire Chambless and Daniela Buzo. 

The Lady Bears trio "Big 3" Katie Rivera, Randle and Barham have led the scoring department in double-figures this season. Rivera and Randle both have posted in 20 plus point games this season that's been key for the team.

Following more double-digit performances have been the hot outside shooting of seniors' Moore and Ward who has swished the basket for multiple trifecta's in games this season. The bench production that has been major for the team is led by the spark playing of Maeda, Nika Carstens and Leticia Bengoechea to provide both inside and outside impact scoring and defensive play.

Seniors' Park, Lee and Claire Chambless has sparked with scoring and a defensive presence to give Spring Hill quality production on the hardwood this season. Abbi Fisher, Kaylee Brooks, Keely Plyler, Alana King, Jade Neal, Sarah Triplett, Aubrie Ford and Lexie Chambless have contributed this season.

In all, the Lady Bears have had several games the entire team has played to provide an overall balance of offensive and defensive play in key victories.

The Lady Bears have produced high scoring games in wins with a 77-33 victory over Dierks, 68-30 victory against Lafayette County, 68-55 win over Murfreesboro, 66-27 over Mineral Springs. In their Hempstead County battle of close wins against Blevins, the Lady Bears prevailed 60-51, 63-58 and 64-56 in the final match-up. Also Spring Hill posted an 61-45 against Arkadelphia for their highest scoring battles over 70 and 60 points scored this year.

With winning margins of over 40, 30 and 20 points this season has shown the Lady Bears' edge to be one of two teams left standing next week to be competing in the Class 2A state finals.

Last year 2016-17, the Lady Bears came up short to Hector 47-42 in the state quarterfinals game hosted in Quitman, but this year Spring Hill looks to advance past the second round (quarterfinals) to return to the semifinals in hopes back to the finals since the 2013-14 season. 

The Class 2A Girls State Tournament is scheduled Feb. 28-Mar. 3 in Judsonia. The Class 2A state finals will be the week of March 5-10 at the Bank of the Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs.