Zoie McGhee couldn't wait to get her college basketball career started.
Then, as she learned during the first months of the 2020 covid-19 shutdown, the waiting game was something she would have to adapt to.
"I was by myself a lot," the third-year North Arkansas College basketball standout said. "You had to find your own motivation. [But] that was when [covid] was really serious. We weren't going to class. We had classes online and through Zoom.
"This year is really my first year to go to most of the classes."
McGhee, who recently had a season-high 11 points during a win over Fort Scott, Kan., is averaging 7.2 points per game through five games. She finished her first full season (2021-22) averaging 4.0 points game.
The NCAA granted all student-athletes whose 2020-21 season was impacted by the covid-19 pandemic six years to complete four full seasons in their respective sport. Traditionally, there is a five-year clock for athletes to play four years.
"My freshman year was crappy because we didn't start until January 22," McGhee said. "You had to check in [every day] to see who was positive [for covid]. A lot of our games got canceled, too. Last year we did really well [22-4].
"This year we've been trying to keep it up; I think we'll have a pretty good year."
North Ark (4-1) will next play Nov. 29 against Fort Scott.
A 2020 Alma graduate, McGhee and other Alma High School graduates didn't receive their diplomas until a rare July graduation ceremony held at Citizens Bank Field at Airedale Stadium.
"That was kind of cool, though, to be on the football field," she said.
She opted for North Ark, a junior college located in Harrison, because it felt a lot like high school, she said.
"I chose this school because the coach Bobby Howard reminded me of my high school coach [Codey Mann]," McGhee said. "You could tell he cared about his players. Plus, [North Ark is] close to Branson, and my parents can come up and visit and we can go to Branson."
No matter how well she plays this season, McGhee has decided this will be her final season.
"I didn't plan on coming back this year," she said. "I was going to go to UCA and do sports medicine, hopefully try and get on with one of the athletic teams."
She had a change of heart, though.
"I was practicing and scrimmage with the team and decided I wouldn't give it up yet," McGhee said. "[But] me and my dad [Bradley] talked it through, and it's probably best to start working toward my career."
As for the game itself, the one she showed great improvement in year after year, McGhee says basketball holds a strong bond.
"In high school it gave me a family," she said. "All my friends were on the basketball team. Honestly, North Ark is just as big as Alma ... so it's really been no different."
Brewer's career takes him to Duquesne
Tevin Brewer's road from Fort Smith to Pittsburgh, Pa., is a long and winding one, with collegiate stops in Coffeyville, Kan., and University Park, Fla.
How do you get from Coffeyville to University Park? Almost as difficult as getting from Fort Smith to Pittsburgh.
The former Northside standout who helped lead the Grizzlies to the 2017 state championship, is completing his fifth year as a college basketball player this season at Duquesne University. Brewer played one season at Coffeyville (2017-18) and three more at Florida International (FIU) before being granted a fifth season courtesy of covid-19.
Brewer started all 66 games he appeared in at FIU, scoring 760 points (11.5 points per game). He averaged 15.2 points per game in 2021-22 before transferring to Duquesne.
Brewer scored two points in 14 minutes of playing time in his Duquesne debut on Nov. 11 against Kentucky.
Henson relishes in OBU's success
Former Alma offensive lineman Zac Henson has enjoyed a banner season for the Ouachita Baptist Tigers' football team.
The unbeaten and nationally ranked Tigers closed out the 2022 campaign with a thrilling 40-37 overtime win over Henderson State in the "Battle of the Ravine" on Nov. 12.
OBU (11-0) was ranked No. 3 in the latest D2Football.com Top 25 Poll and was slated to play Northwest Missouri State on Saturday.
Henson was named to the All-Great American Conference First Team offense along with fellow Tiger linemen Anthony Chairez and Hunter Swoboda. Henson, a junior tackle, has helped OBU's vaunted running game average 304.6 yards per game.
The Tigers went into Saturday's contest averaging 44.9 points a game.
Gleason, Emporia State lose tough one
A tale of three days.
On Nov. 12, Braden Gleason and the Emporia State Hornets had their playoff hopes dashed by dropping a 27-21 decision to Northwest Missouri State -- ESU's first defeat since falling to No. 4 Pitt State on Sept. 24.
Gleason (Muldrow, Okla.) ran for a pair of scores but failed to throw at least one TD pass for the first time since Nov. 19, 2019. He was also intercepted three times.
Then, the good news.
Last week, Emporia State (8-3) accepted a bid to play in the Dec. 3 Farmers Bank & Trust Live United Bowl against Southeastern Oklahoma State in Texarkana. It's Emporia State's seventh post-season appearance.
Gleason, who is sixth in the nation in points responsible for, eighth in passing and ninth in total offense, was named second-team All-MIAA (Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association).
Douglas scores 14 for Austin Peay
Tiya Douglas scored 14 points in Austin Peay's 70-61 battle to fellow Nashville foe Vanderbilt on Thursday night.
The former Northside standout is in her first season with the Governors after transferring from Ole Miss. In 2019-20, Douglas averaged 13.9 points per game at Trinity Valley Community College (Athens, Texas).
At Ole Miss, Douglas' previous best game was a nine-point effort against New Orleans on Dec. 1, 2021. Against Vanderbilt, Douglas was 6-of-13 from the field (2-of-8 from the 3-point line) with eight rebounds.
The talented Douglas led three different high schools to state championships. She helped lead Fayetteville to the 2017 state title and helped Owasso (Okla.) to a 2018 Frontier state championship before transferring to Northside, where in 2019, she helped Rickey Smith's Lady Bears to a 28-1 record and a state title.
That same year, Douglas tied the National Junior College Athletic Association record with 13 3-pointers in a 44-point performance for Trinity Valley Community College against East Texas Baptist.
Mann goes for 17
Cejay Mann scored a career-high 17 points during the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma's 94-87 loss to MidAmerica Nazarene on Nov. 11. The Drovers were unable to overcome Nazarene's blistering 60% shooting, however, during the loss.
The 6-foot Mann, a former Alma standout, was 5-of-7 from the 3-point line and 6-of-8 overall.
Mann earned his first-career start for the Drovers Nov. 14 against Evangel University, going 3-for-6 from the 3-point line.
Mann hit three early buckets and finished with nine points, one steal and one rebound in the Drovers' 70-68 win over John Brown University on Thursday night. Mann and USAO evened its overall record at 3-3.
Ennis, Harding closing strong
Grant Ennis (Greenwood) booted 7-of-8 PAT kicks during Harding's 55-10 rout of Arkansas Tech on Nov. 12.
The Bison (9-2) finished Great American Conference play with four straight victories.
Ennis is now 50-of-52 in PAT kicks and first in team scoring (59). For his career, Ennis is now 162-of-168 in PAT attempts. He has had 19 touchbacks this season.
Ennis ranks seventh in school history in scoring with 228 points.
Former Southside standout Dmitrii Lloyd (Southside) finished his freshman season at Missouri Southern State with six receptions for 62 yards. ... Taye Gatewood (Southside) ran for 13 yards on four carries during Arkansas Tech's season-ending 55-10 loss to Harding on Nov. 12. Gatewood also completed a pass. ... University of the Ozarks' Dillon Cheater (Sallisaw) scored 12 points in the team's 68-51 loss to UAFS on Thursday. ... Ozark's Makya Perryman (Roland) had four assists in the Lady Eagles' 64-58 win over Austin College on Nov. 15. ... Megan Gray (Greenwood) scored eight points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out three assists in Hendrix's 95-50 loss to Arkansas State on Nov. 16. ... Hunter Jackson (Ozark) was named to the Great American Conference second-team offensive line this week. OBU faces Northwest Missouri State this week.