28 Jan Dawn, Mayflower ‘confident’ heading into post-season games
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by Levi Gilbert
If the success of the Mayflower Lady Eagles this season could be summed up by one word, it might just be confidence.
Individually and collectively, increased confidence has boosted Mayflower (14-5, 5-3) from a sub-500 team a year ago into the top ranks of the 5-3A.
“This season, we added three new players — juniors Jenna McMillen, Kamiah Turner and Kierra Fulton,” junior Kennedi Dawn said. “Them moving down here have caused us to be a better team and be more confident. I’m being more confident in my shot. I’ve become a better shooter all around and am just being more confident in myself.”
Dawn, a junior forward for Mayflower, 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 Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Center. The junior was nominated by her head coach, Coty Storms.
“Kennedi is a leader who has been through ups and downs and brings experience,” Storms wrote in his nomination. “She brings a big presence in the middle. She’s a team player that does whatever is best for the team. She’s also a straight-A student that is a leader in the classroom. She sets the example both in the classroom and on the court.”
As Mayflower finishes up the second run through 5-3A play and prepares for the upcoming district and regional tournaments, the goal is clear.
“Ring chasing!” Dawn said. “We want to make it to state. As we finish the regular season, we’re just going out there and playing hard, not expecting the same results just because you have beaten a team once. Play like you have never played before, and leave everything you have on the court.
“Defense and rebounds are what wins the games. And I’ve learned that having a bond with the team and just everyone becoming a family causes the whole team to perform better.”
As of press time, Mayflower sits tied at third with Baptist Prep behind Episcopal (6-2) and Central Arkansas Christian (8-0). Dawn and her teammates are eager to get another shot at CAC. In December, Mayflower fell to CAC, 60-46, and last week, they lost a nail biter to the Lady Mustangs, 42-41.
“They’re a great team, and we are, too,” Dawn said. “It’s always neck and neck whenever we play them. Playing them causes us to develop more as a team. I just look forward to seeing them again in district and regionals. It is a very intense game against them; it causes the stands to constantly be on their toes, wondering what will happen next.”
Off the court, Dawn is a member of Beta Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Student Council, National Honor Society and Heritage Club at Mayflower High School.
Dawn and Mayflower return to action at Baptist Prep at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31.