The high school basketball season has come to a close, and local players are either moving on to spring sports or waiting for next fall for the 23/24 season.
No local teams got to raise a championship trophy this season, but the Camden Fairview Cardinals, Harmony Grove Hornets and Bearden Bears all found ways to improve their play and take home some wins this season.
The Camden News has created its own First-Team, Second-Team and All-Team for Ouachita County's standout basketball players. Here's the boys' teams:
Boys First-Team All-County
Guard: Jy'Marion Hopson – Camden Fairview (Senior)
Guard: Kyleston Gill – Camden Fairview (Sophomore)
Guard: Javian Love – Bearden (Senior)
Forward: Za'Kyus Smith – Harmony Grove (Sophomore)
Froward: Thomas Brunston – Bearden (Senior)
Boys Second-Team All-County
Guard: Royce Cones – Bearden (Senior)
Guard: Landon Garrett – Harmony Grove (Junior)
Guard: Caleb Johnson – Harmony Grove (Junior)
Forward: Jarvis Reed – Camden Fairview (Senior)
Forward: Traveon King – Camden Fairview (Senior)
MVP: Jy'Marion Hopson (Camden Fairview)
Top Sophomore: Za'Kyus Smith (Harmony Grove)
Best All-Around: Thomas Brunston (Bearden)
Camden Fairview's Jy'Marion Hopson came into the season as one of the most experienced and versatile point guards in the south Arkansas region. He is a court general who can analyze his teammate's positions on the court along with the opposing defense to get the ball to the best scoring position. He can attack the basket in several different ways and play off-ball to move around for a more efficient scoring position. On defense, he has solid, lockdown man-on-man coverage against the opposing defense.
One of Hopson's biggest late performances of the season came in the Cardinals' 64-52 win over the Malvern Leopards, when he scored 19 points, shooting 8-of-16 in field goals and 3-of-7 from the three-point arc. He also accounted for six rebounds, two assists and a steal in that game.
Hopson's biggest game of the season came in Camden Fairview's 67-65 road win over the El Dorado Wildcats, when he scored 23 points, shooting 4-of-8 in field goals, 2-of-4 from the three-point arc and 12-of-14 at the free-throw line.
This season was the first time the Harmony Grove Hornets boys' team showed signs of serious improvement in years. One of the biggest reasons was the rise of Za'Kyus Smith as a star player on both ends of the court.
Smith can attack the basket throughout the court and rack up points. In the Hornets' tough 78-68 loss to Dewitt, Smith accounted for 16 points, 13 rebounds, one block and one steal. In their 83-68 road loss againstthe Dollarway Cardinals, Smith scored 28 points, shooting 10-of-20 in field goals and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line. He also led the team in pass deflections, with three, while accounting for six rebounds, three assists and one steal.
Bearden's Thomas Brunston has been a force in the paint this season for the Bears. His size, strength and athleticism make him a stellar traditional center to rely on for easy baskets and rebounds inside the paint.
In the Bears' 57-54 win over the Strong Bulldogs in the district tournament, Brunston led the Bears in points with 15, shooting 7-of-9 in field goals making 12 rebound attempts for a double-double. In their 65-46 win at home over Hermitage, Brunston accounted for another double-double as he scored 14 points, shooting 7-of-9 in field goals and accounting for 20 rebounds, a block and a steal.