501 Life Magazine | Francis leading young Mayflower squad
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Francis leading young Mayflower squad

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

by Levi Gilbert

A year ago, Bailey Francis was putting up points for the junior high Mayflower Eagles. Now, she’s being asked to lead a young high school squad as a sophomore. 

“As the point guard, Bailey will run the offense as a sophomore,” Coach Lacy Logan said. “She played in the senior high district tournament as a freshman last year and was one of the leading scorers for our team. The team will look to her as a leader on the court and as one of our main offensive threats.”

Francis was selected to this year’s 501 Basketball Team — 34 players representing the best the 501 has to offer both on and off the court. The team is sponsored by Conway Ortho and Sports Medicine, Conway Regional Health System and First Security Bank. Francis was nominated by Logan.

After averaging 10 points, four steals and two assists per game in junior high last season, Francis has had to step up early in her high school career and learn on the fly. The young, sophomore-laden Eagles squad is 2-1 early on in 5-3A play, with wins over Lisa Academy and Baptist Prep. 

“Bailey has great basketball knowledge, leadership, shooting ability from the outside and speed to penetrate,” Logan said. “She encourages her teammates to do their best, and she knows every single play on offense and defense like a coach. She gives her best every second she’s on the court.”

Francis and the Eagles end their holiday break with a trip to Heber Springs this week for the Heber Springs Invitational. The conference grind picks back up Jan. 4 against Harmony Grove. 

“Bailey is not only an exceptional basketball player, but she’s also a great person,” Logan said. “She’s trustworthy, a hard worker and a role model. She is a great example to younger players in the program. She’s a great student and cares about her teammates.”

Off the court, Francis is involved in Beta Club, Spanish Club and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). 

“Bailey is one of those players that you wish would never graduate,” Logan said. “She makes the team better with her skill, positive attitude and effort.”

Francis and the Eagles play in the Heber Springs Invitational at Heber Springs High School starting Thursday.