Citty gives Harding Academy an ‘explosive’ production

by Levi Gilbert

For the last two seasons, Caroline Citty and the Harding Academy Lady Wildcats have tasted defeat in the 3A state quarterfinals. In her senior campaign, Citty is striving to lead the Wildcats back to the state tournament and beyond that quarterfinals mark. But as a leader, she knows that isn’t the only measure of success for the team. 

“It would be amazing to win state, and that would be the best memory someone could hope for, but the thing that I love about my team that not many teams could say is that our goal as a team is to have a relationship with each other that we will carry on not only in basketball season, but throughout the rest of our lives,” Citty said. “Our bond with each other is more important than anything, and that is the biggest goal that we strive to have as a team. I need to soak in every moment I have with my girls and treasure those moments with them because once it is over, it’s over. I want to leave it all on the court and fight for every second of each and every game.”

Citty, a senior guard for Harding Academy (7-0, 1-0), was selected to this year’s 501 Basketball Team — 41 players representing the best the 501 has to offer both on and off the court. The team is sponsored by Conway Regional Health System, First Security Bank and Conway Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Center. The senior was nominated by her head coach, Rusty Garner.

“Caroline is a long, athletic guard with a really good motor,” Garner wrote. “She’s very active. She is a good scorer, a capable shooter and a really good defender. She is key in our pace of play. She was all-conference and all-state as a junior and was a key part of a district title, region finalist, state quarterfinal team.
“Caroline is our most explosive guard, and we expect her to be one of the top guards in the league if not the state.”

Harding Academy High School’s Caroline Citty is a member of this year’s 501 Basketball Team, sponsored by Conway Regional Health System, First Security Bank and Conway Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Center. (Mike Kemp photo)

Having played basketball since first grade, Citty credits her mom with her early basketball roots. 

“She decided to put together a team so that I could start playing basketball at an early age to start learning early,” Citty said.

Basketball has become even more of a family affair this year for Citty. Her younger sister, Calle, who is a freshman, has moved up to play with the varsity squad. Like a lot of sibling relationships, the on-the-court dynamic has had some ups and downs early in the season. 

“I have had to get used to playing with her and trying not to get mad at everything she does,” Citty said. “I had no idea what my coach was trying to do to me when he told me that he was moving her up, but now that our season is rolling and she is there for everything that we are doing, I am super glad that she is on my team. Not many people get to experience playing with their younger or older sibling in the same sport, but I am very blessed to get to experience that with her my senior year.”

In addition to basketball, Citty also competes in cross country, track and soccer for the Lady Wildcats. Beyond athletics, she’s involved in FCCLA and Beta Club at Harding Academy. And she’s a dynamic force for good in the community. She volunteers with Special Olympics, and the Citty family serves as a foster home. 

“My parents, aunts and uncles and other families that foster inspire me to open up my home, when I get older, to kids who are in need,” Citty said. “I think it is very important to foster because you are taking in someone you don’t know and getting the opportunity to love them as your own while changing their lives forever.”

Citty and the Lady Wildcats return to action playing host to Riverview at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13.

Levi GIlbert
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